One day after their breakout star defender tested positive for COVID-19, the Cowboys learned of another positive test from a key piece to their offense. Starting left tackle Tyron Smith has been placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).
Micah Parsonstested positive on Wednesday, which in all likelihood ended his rookie season. The fact that Smith tested positive one day later, of course, makes his absence for Saturday’s game against the Eagles even more likely. Smith has already missed four games this year, including Week 15 most recently. Those absences have been related to ongoing ankle issues, and come after he was only able to suit up for two games last year. Without Smith, look for Terence Steele or Ty Nsekhe to fill in at left tackle.
The silver lining to the news for Dallas is the fact that they have already clinched the NFC East title, rendering the game against Philadelphia – which has also clinched a playoff spot – relatively meaningless. On the other hand, NFL Network’s Jane Slater reports that there are “a few players feeling under the weather today”, and that cornerback Anthony Brown has also tested positive.
The Cowboys’ COVID-19 situation will be worth monitoring in the coming days, as the team ultimately prepares for the postseason starting next week.
Tyron Smith won’t be on the field this Sunday when the Cowboys take on the Giants. The left tackle aggravated his ankle injury and won’t play this week, per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). Fortunately, head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters that he doesn’t think “it’s a surgical situation” (via Gehlken) meaning Smith should be able to return to the lineup sooner than later.
Smith missed three games earlier this season while dealing with the same ankle injury, so this is probably a frustrating development for the 31-year-old. According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, the lineman has been dealing with bone spurs in his ankle. Smith has otherwise started all 10 games for the Cowboys this season.
The offensive lineman was limited to only a pair of games in 2020 while he dealt with a neck injury. The seven-time Pro Bowler hasn’t had a fully healthy season since 2015, and he went on a remarkable run of 13-game seasons between 2016 and 2019.
With Smith out of the lineup against the Giants, the Cowboys will likely turn to either Terence Steele or Ty Nsekhe at left tackle.
March 10th, 2021 at 5:51pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
It’s that time of year when teams are frantically maneuvering ahead of free agency. Due to the cap falling because of COVID-19, things are even more hectic than ever. We’ve seen a whole bunch of contract restructures come in, and there will be a whole lot more. Let’s catch you up on the latest batch and their financial implications:
The Panthers restructured Christian McCaffrey‘s contract recently, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network tweets. They converted $7MM of his $8MM base salary into a signing bonus, which freed up about $5.6MM in cap space for 2021. Almost a year ago McCaffrey signed his record-breaking extension that has him locked up through the 2025 season.
The Cowboys have had a busy week with Dak Prescott‘s massive extension now in the books, and they made a trio of moves to help clear some space. Dallas restructured the deals of Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, and La’el Collins, a source told Todd Archer of ESPN.com. The reworking of the three offensive linemen’s contracts cleared up about $17MM in cap space for Jerry Jones. As Archer notes, these moves have now gotten Dallas under the cap for 2021.
The Giants just cut top offensive lineman Kevin Zeitler as they look to clear cap space to keep guys like defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson. The Zeitler release isn’t the only shuffling they’re doing, as they also restructured the contract of tight end Levine Toilolo, and Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com tweeted the details. Rather than a procedural restructure like you see with star players, Toilolo actually took a pay-cut to stay with the team. He had been scheduled to make $2.95MM this year but agreed to reduce that to $1.6MM, saving the Giants north of $1MM against the cap.
We’ve got four other restructures to pass along, courtesy of this tweet from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The Saints restructured the deals of safety Malcolm Jenkins to save $3.4MM and offensive lineman Andrus Peat to save $6MM. New Orleans has the worst cap situation in the league, and they desperately needed moves like this to do things like franchise tag safety Marcus Williams.
The Eagles saved $2.4MM by reworking the deal of offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo. Philly is right up there with New Orleans in terms of bad cap situations, so GM Howie Roseman is likely far from done here.
The Steelers saved $880K by adjusting fullback Derek Watt‘s contract. Not exactly front page news here, but it should shore up Watt’s spot on the 2021 roster. T.J. and J.J.’s brother signed a three-year, $9.75MM pact last offseason.
Oct 9: Smith will undergo neck surgery and will miss the rest of the season, head coach Mike McCarthy announced this morning (Twitter link via Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). However, he is expected to make a full recovery and plans to be back in action for Week 1 of the 2021 season (Twitter link via Gehlken).
Oct. 8: Tyron Smith played all 82 of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps in their shootout loss to the Browns, but the neck injury that caused the All-Pro left tackle to miss the previous two games continues to be a concern.
The Cowboys are considering placing Smith on IR and are not certain he can continue to play this season, Ed Werder of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Smith indeed suffered a setback with his neck and is gathering medical information. He also is considering the prospect of the injury shutting him down for the rest of the season, Jane Slater and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com report (on Twitter).
The Cowboys are also down center Joe Looney, who left Sunday’s game after the first play. The team confirmed its starting center is dealing with an MCL issue and will miss time. As for Smith, he has gone to seven straight Pro Bowls and joined Martin on the 2010s’ All-Decade team. The 2011 first-round pick has never missed more than three games in a season.
UDFAs Brandon Knight and Terence Steele are expected to be the Cowboys’ left and right tackles, respectively, for the foreseeable future, the Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken tweets. A Smith IR stay would mean at least three missed games, pushing his total to a minimum of five absences this season. Even if that ends up being the Cowboys’ move, their offensive line has run into the kind of trouble that it has not faced in many years.
September 18th, 2020 at 3:40pm CST by Sam Robinson
Jared Veldheer has began COVID-19 protocols, upon arriving in Dallas earlier this week, and is working out for the team Friday, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News tweets.
The Cowboys brought in Veldheer on Wednesday, per Michael Gehlken of the Morning News (on Twitter), and may be prepared to make an emergency addition. Dallas is down its top two right tackles — La’el Collins and Cameron Erving. Both are on IR.
Rookie UDFA Terence Steele started at right tackle against the Rams in Week 1. Veldheer obviously brings far more experience, though the veteran blocker has not started a game since 2018. The former Raiders, Cardinals and Broncos starter retired in 2019, shortly after a Patriots agreement, but resumed his career to play in two games with the Packers.
Veldheer, now 33, has made 113 career starts. Considering the Cowboys also have Tyron Smith classified as questionable, it is not hard to envision them moving forward with Veldheer ahead of Week 2. Smith did not practice this week due to a neck injury. Veldheer has extensive experience at both left and right tackles, playing on the left side in Oakland and to start his Arizona stay. He has been a right tackle since 2017.
The Cowboys converted $8.9MM Tyron Smith‘s base salary into a signing bonus (Twitter link via Field Yates of ESPN.com). With that, the Cowboys have freed up at least $6.675MM in cap space for 2020. It’s not immediately clear whether a void year has also been added to the tackle’s deal, but if that’s the case, they’ll have upwards of $7.1MM in additional room.
Smith, 29, is under club control through 2023 thanks to the eight-year, $97.6MM extension he inked with the Cowboys in 2014. Since then, he’s made similar concessions to help the Cowboys navigate their numbers crunch.
Smith made six straight Pro Bowls from 2014 through 2019 and was named as a first- or second-team All-Pro in four of those campaigns. Unfortunately, injuries have been a roadblock in recent years. He has not played in a full season since 2015 – a mix of knee, back, groin, and hip issues have limited him to just 13 regular season contests in each of the last four years.
Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, when the Cowboys called the Jets to discuss an Adams trade, New York GM Joe Douglas asked about the availability of Dallas guard Zack Martin and left tackle Tyron Smith. Dallas made it clear that neither offensive lineman was available, and the Cowboys’ best offer ended up being a first-round pick and backup corner Anthony Brown. However, as Rapoport observes, Douglas’ initial ask is suggestive of how he plans to construct his roster going forward: from the inside out.
Dallas’ and Baltimore’s interest in Adams was previously reported, though Rapoport says the Jets received double-digit phone calls on the 24-year-old. RapSheet adds that a third team actually put forth the strongest offer, though who that team is and the details of the offer are presently unknown.
But the fact that Adams will be with Gang Green for the rest of the year does not mean that he will be with the club in 2020. Rich Cimini of ESPN.com believes Douglas will end up dealing Adams prior to the 2020 draft, and Cimini cites Adams’ “overreaction” to the trade rumors as one of the primary reasons for his prediction.
Adams’ post-deadlinepublic comments in which he voiced his frustration and surprise that the Jets would even think about trading him are emblematic of what Cimini deems a me-first mentality that Adams has begun to display, a mentality which also manifested itself in a locker room blowup during halftime of last week’s loss to the Jaguars. Whether one agrees with Cimini’s characterization of these incidents or not, it seems true enough that Adams’ tenure with the Jets could be drawing to a close (especially given that he will be extension-eligible for the first time after this season).
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports also hears that Adams could be dealt in 2020, and JLC’s sources suggest that Adams and Le’Veon Bell may be traded at next year’s combine. La Canfora adds that the Jets were eager to move Bell and cornerback Trumaine Johnson at the deadline, but there was little interest in them because of their salaries. And while the Jets will surely not find any takers for Johnson in 2020, other clubs may be willing to take the plunge on Bell, and Adams will remain a hot commodity.
But for what it’s worth, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv believes the Jets should build around Adams, Bell, Sam Darnold, and Quinnen Williams and not subject the club’s fanbase to another teardown. As many have said about the division-rival Dolphins’ rebuild — draft picks are great, but a rebuilding outfit needs core players too — the Jets should not blindly pursue premium draft capital at the expense of their foundational pieces.
No surprise here, but Davante Adams will miss another game this week, per the Packers‘ final injury report. This marks the wide receiver’s third-straight missed contest as he rehabs from a toe ailment.
Adams had a strong start to the season with 25 receptions for 378 yards before going down and seemed on his way to matching last year’s 111/1,386 posting. The Packers were able to get past the Lions without him and they’ll aim to do the same against the Raiders.
Here’s the latest on other bumps and bruises from around the NFL:
Uh oh – Cardinals running back David Johnson is dealing with a new injury. After tweaking his back against Atlanta, Johnson will be a game time decision thanks to a sore ankle, head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters.
The Cowboys will have offensive tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, wide receivers Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb, and cornerback Byron Jones are set to play on Sunday against the Eagles, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. All five are listed as questionable for the game, but they took the practice field and Friday and should be good to go.