Presented by

Mailbag: Best Options For The Swing Tackle Job?


Have you heard of any interest in Dallas trading Jaylon Smith? He is the highest-paid LB right now and doesn't seem to have a starting position as we have seen Parsons and Neal starting these past two games. So, why keep him around for that much money and being a rotational player? — SHAUN KING / CHEYENNE, WY

David: We had a long conversation about this the other day on "Cowboys Break." The main thing you need to remember is that the Cowboys have already guaranteed Jaylon's salary for the year, so it's going to be hard for them to save money on his contract. The size of that contract is also going to make it tough for them to get good return on the deal. So, the question becomes: what's more valuable, a late-round pick or a veteran backup? I understand that his play hasn't been up to snuff, but I still think Jaylon Smith is more valuable to the Cowboys than whatever they could get in return.

Rob: I don't think there's any question that Smith's snap totals will decrease from the past few years. You can probably say the same for Leighton Vander Esch, and for Keanu Neal, too, compared to how much he played in Atlanta. But no, haven't heard anything legitimate about a potential Smith trade. Linebacker is a high-impact position where injuries happen and the Cowboys are very pleased with the depth there entering the season. For defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, it's just a matter of figuring out who does what best and putting guys in those roles.

With the obvious issues last season and having to use multiple backup tackles on both sides, is the term 'swing tackle' really now applicable? Should the thinking be that a backup tackle for both sides is now necessary, providing slightly more specialism on each side, meaning perhaps Ty Nsekhe and Terence Steele (or any others) both make the final roster? — RICHIE BARNES / AUSTIN, TX

David: For this team, I think you're absolutely right. We've seen the Cowboys go really light on the offensive line in the past, but I'm just not sure how you do that with the injury histories on this roster. If the front office can find an improvement on the waiver wire or in a minor trade, I'm all for it. But regardless, I think it's important for this team to have multiple options if they require depth at any point this year.

Rob: Well, you certainly hope you don't have to go four tackles deep during a season like the Cowboys did in 2020. The "swing tackle" role does have value because you want the third tackle to be equally capable of playing the left or right side. Some guys don't have the skill set for both. I'm still not 100% sure what they do there. Zack Martin seamlessly moved out to tackle last year in a pinch, and that's their best option this season if necessary, in my opinion. But yes, it's possible Steele and Nsehke both make the team. It's also possible the Cowboys will look to see who's available after final cuts.

Related Content