Cowboys Not Ruling Anything Out In Search Of A Starting Left Guard

INDIANAPOLIS – They might not know where they're getting him, but the Cowboys are well aware they need one more blocker.

Other than the never-ending conversation about Dez Bryant, the Cowboys' biggest offensive issue in 2018 might just be the left guard spot, where there is currently a sizable hole in the lineup.

"We just have to find a fifth offensive lineman. We want our five best guys out there," said Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones on Tuesday.

Jonathan Cooper held that job for most of last season after taking over for Chaz Green in October. The former first-round pick is currently scheduled for unrestricted free agency, which leaves a starting spot up for grabs. Green is still under contract, and the Cowboys have other veteran options.

But Jones made no bones about the fact that the Cowboys' next starting left guard likely isn't on the roster right now.

"We think that we have four really good ones. We certainly have some guys that can give us depth," he said. "Certainly, we hope that Chaz Green continues to develop, but there is probably no question that we have to find a fifth offensive lineman."

When they do find him, the hope is that he completes what would be quite an impressive unit. The Cowboys obviously already boast three All-Pro offensive linemen in Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin. They've also invested significantly in La'el Collins, who impressed during his first season at right tackle.

"We have paid La'el, we're going to pay Zack, we're paying Frederick. We're basically paying four linemen a lot of money," Jones said.

That leaves the question, how much will the Cowboys spend on that fifth offensive lineman? To hear it from the front office, there isn't much expectation of big spending during free agency – although the Cowboys could certainly find a veteran starter.

That might not rule out the draft, though. This franchise has invested three of its last seven first-round picks in offensive linemen. Asked about it Tuesday, Jones said he's not unwilling to make it four out of eight in the right circumstance.

"I wouldn't rule it out, if there's a great one there," he said. "If Zack Martin is sitting there again then you better take a look. You might be getting a Hall of Famer. Obviously to have that many first rounders in your offensive line, although La'el wasn't a first rounder, he could've been. We don't rule out anything."

None of this serves as a solid answer about the Cowboys' needs on the offensive line, but it does confirm what was already suspected: left guard figures to be a big priority in the coming weeks.

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