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Progress Report

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Progress Report: What Brandon Knight Didn't Do


(Editor's Note: In the coming weeks, the staff of will evaluate those players who are already under contract, examining their past performance and future outlook. Today, we'll continue the series with offensive tackle Brandon Knight.)

The Good: The epitome of a good backup player – at essentially any position on the field – is one who not only is ready to play at all times, but can play multiple positions as well. If that's the case, Knight certainly filled the role of a quality backup. In fact, he proved to be more than that with nine starts at left tackle. Knight also played some on the right side and even took guard reps in practice later in the season when the Cowboys were spread thin across the line.

The Bad: This might not qualify as "bad" but rather something that is expected. But as admirable as Knight played to fill in at left tackle, the Cowboys undoubtedly missed Tyron Smith, a seven-time Pro Bowler. That's not a slight against Knight, who of course is nowhere close to Smith's level. But there were too many times during the season in which Knight had his share of problems trying to anchor the left side of the line. And when compared to Tyron Smith, there aren't many players in the NFL, currently or in league history, who could fill in for Smith without a hitch. Knight, who played guard as well in college, seemed to have trouble with the speed-rushers off the edge. That's just something the Cowboys haven't seem much of from their left tackle over the last decade.

Best of 2020: The best part of Knight's season wasn't exactly what he did, but perhaps something he didn't do. For being an undrafted player in his second season trying to play left tackle, it's remarkable to think Knight was never assessed a penalty for the entire season. He was only flagged for one penalty, and that was declined. Sure, he had some problems holding up to heavy pressure at times, but to not be flagged for holding or even a false start all year long is quite an accomplishment.

Contract Consideration: Knight enters the third and final year of his contract. He is expected to count just over $850,000 on the cap. The Cowboys could release or trade him without any significant cap ramifications, but given his cost, coupled with his playing experience, it would make more sense for the Cowboys to keep him around as a versatile backup.

What's Next: For starters, let's see how Tyron Smith and La'el Collins return from injuries that kept them both out the majority of last season. Then, we need to see what the Cowboys do in the draft and/or free agency regarding the line. But at some point, there seems like Knight will have a role on this team, whether it's a backup tackle spot or a reserve at guard. Knight and Terence Steele would both be in the hunt to earn the Cowboys' swing tackle spot for the upcoming season.

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