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Mailbag: Steele's Timeline; Tyron At Right Tackle?


What is the timeline for right tackle Terence Steele? Being hurt late in the year, I believe he won't be ready for Week 1. Is it logical then to assume Tyron Smith is your right tackle at the start of next season? Any chance Smith becomes this team's swing tackle in 2023? – Brendan Raybuck /Camas, WA

Nick: I wouldn't assume that at all for Steele. Knowing that all injuries are different, Michael Gallup got hurt in January and had the surgery in February and was able to play in Week 4 of the season. And that's a receiver who relies on his speed and quickness to run and cut. Personally, I'd be surprised if Steele isn't ready by Week 1 and he'll probably get some work in the preseason. Of course, getting him re-signed one way or another is something the Cowboys need to get done this offseason. He'll probably get a first-round tender as a restricted free agent but possibly a long-term deal.

Patrik: I expect Steele to be ready to go for September kickoff, barring any setbacks, but we'll see how he progresses over these next several months and if that remains a realistic expectation. First things first, though, and that's making sure he's still on the roster for 2023. Steele is a restricted free agent and though that means the Cowboys can simply match an offer and keep him in tow, they also have the right to place a tender on him to get a top pick in the event they let him walk to another team. The latter is doubtful, but not impossible, especially for a team that loves to draft and does exceptionally well at it (if you could get a first-round pick for Steele, it's a conversation, considering he'd be an unrestricted free agent in 2024, absent a long-term deal being struck). Contractual item to the side, assuming Steele is back and ready to go, he's your starting right tackle and that part isn't up for dialogue, in my opinion; and I believe that puts Tyron Smith back at LT and pushes Tyler Smith to left guard — remember, Connor McGovern will be an unrestricted free agent and, should he choose to return, he might be doing so to be a fullback/backup OL (that's not an easy sell for a current, young starter).

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