As long as Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott are around, the Philadelphia Eagles’ main rival for the NFC East crown will be in Dallas.
The Cowboys have been a model of inconsistent consistency over the last six years; with three division championships in that span, but just one playoff victory. Yet while the Cowboys gear up to potentially be the first back-to-back winner of the NFC East crown for the first time since the ’03-04 Eagles, their road has gotten far more challenging.
The latest report sent shockwaves throughout the NFL and the rest of the NFC East. As the Cowboys look to find replacements for the former All-Pro, it’s clear that Smith’s injury impacts the entire division in a big way.
Cowboys Offensive Line Woes
At one point six years ago, the Cowboys had the best offensive line in football. Now, injuries, early retirements, and poor drafting have turned the once vaunted OL into a shell of its former self.
With Smith out for a few months, speculation has grown on potential replacements like first-round pick Tyler Smith or fifth-round pick, Matt Waletzko. Two unproven rookies potentially starting on the offensive line’s most important position isn’t something you want on a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
Dak Prescott has historically struggled without his left tackle as well. While a 13-8 record without the left tackle is certainly respectable, and a 35-12 TD-INT ratio is excellent, it doesn’t tell the whole picture.
Prescott’s five of his last seven wins without Smith have come against the NFC East. The other two wins have come against the Atlanta Falcons. The teams aren’t exactly world-beaters.
But the Eagles and their rivals have greatly improved over the offseason.
Haason Reddick, Kayvon Thibodeaux, and others have joined the division and will greatly impact the Cowboy’s offense. Without Amari Cooper (traded to Cleveland), and Michael Gallup (injury) to start the year, the Cowboys could be in big trouble.
Outside of the East, Prescott is 0-5 with losses to the Broncos, Chiefs, and Jets without his stalwart tackle.
The Cowboys are significantly worse now than they were before this injury. The depth along their line isn’t great, and the absences on offense could very well curtail their entire season. On the field, this could very well shift the balance of powers in the East.
Could the Eagles unload Dillard to a rival?
Believe it or not, the Tyron Smith injury affects the entire division off the field as well. Why? Well because with championship aspirations in Dallas. A devastating injury like Smith’s would have the team desperately looking for a left tackle to help.
If only there was a team who had a top 15 tackle on the roster just sitting on the bench because the starter is one of the three best tackles in the game…
Yes, I would be shocked if the Cowboys and Eagles came to a trade that would directly help Dallas in a major way. But the idea isn’t ludicrous considering the Cowboys, again, are trying to do everything possible to win a Super Bowl. Could Dallas fork over a first or second-round selection to the Eagles for Andre Dillard?
Will Howie Roseman even accept an offer like that? Time will tell, but it’s clear that the NFC East is impacted in more than one way by Tyron Smith’s injury.
If Dillard gets traded to Dallas, it would give the Cowboys an actual seasoned starter without having to pressure a first-round rookie into the fold.
Of course, the Eagles don’t have to do any favors for Dallas since they have consistently neglected their OL depth for years.
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