PC: Yahoo! Sports
On Wednesday, the offensive line for the Dallas Cowboys suffered a catastrophe. According to ESPN, star left tackle Tyron Smith tore his hamstring while blocking in practise. According to an additional NFL Network story, Smith’s knee injury was an avulsion fracture, which results in the hamstring tendon rupturing the bone. According to The NFL Network, Smith will have surgery on Friday, and it is hoped that he will be back in action by December.
Tyron Smith, the franchise left tackle for the defending NFC East champs, suffered an injury on Wednesday while attempting to block Leighton Vander Esch. Following rumours that the eight-time Pro Bowler had torn his hamstring and would be sidelined indefinitely, the Cowboys’ worst fears were realised.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who made the clarification on Thursday morning, Smith really suffered an avulsion fracture of the knee, which is identical to the injury sustained by Jets tackle Mekhi Becton, and the hamstring tendon pulled away from the knee. The Cowboys now have to prepare for Smith missing most, if not all, of the season because he now needs surgery. Rapoport predicted that if Smith returns this season at all, it will be in December.
Smith, 31, has missed at least three games annually since 2016 due to a variety of injuries that have plagued him over the course of several seasons. He is an eight-time Pro Bowler and one of the best tackles in the game when healthy, but the qualifier “when healthy” is becoming more and more important.
Dallas is already undergoing significant changes along the offensive line this year after parting ways with right tackle La’el Collins and allowing left guard Connor Williams to go in free agency. First-round pick Tyler Smith, who the organisation selected as its left tackle of the future but who might possibly start at guard next to Tyron Smith in the near future, was anticipated to take the former’s spot.
After Tyron Smith suffered a major injury, it’s probable that the Cowboys will immediately take their first-round pick outside, moving on from the potential Hall of Famer who has been holding down the left side of the line since 2012. (Smith played right tackle as a rookie in 2011.) The other internal options are swing tackle Aviante Collins, a veteran who has only appeared in five games since going undrafted out of TCU in 2017 and 2021 fourth-round pick Josh Ball, who has largely struggled during training camp, and 2022 fifth-rounder Matt Waletzko, who has played exclusively on the right side during camp and is recovering from an injury.
The current strategy is to replace Smith with one of the internal candidates, but the Cowboys will keep an eye on roster changes throughout the league to decide whether to sign another offensive lineman, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.
There are still available free agency tackles, such Eric Fisher and Jason Peters, and there have been speculations that the Patriots might make Isaiah Wynn tradeable. If Dallas wants to bring in a player from outside the organisation, it has plenty of cap flexibility to execute a signing or a deal. But regardless of the path the Cowboys finally take, it is quite doubtful that any of those possibilities will produce at the level that they have grown to anticipate from Smith. It’s a significant loss for an offence that struggled toward the end of the last campaign due to the offensive line’s ailments and subpar performance.