FRISCO, Texas – With so many questions to answers, this series will take a look at each position on the roster, and what choices might face the front office heading into 2021.
We'll continue on the offensive line, as the Cowboys will hope to get several key players back from injury.
Today, we'll focus again at the guard, specifically the left side of the line.
How The Connors Fit Into 2021 Plans
No player took more snaps – offense or defense – than Connor Williams in 2020. His 1,114 snaps were the most on either side of the ball, but he missed just one play during the entire season.
With that, it doesn't appear as if his starting job will be in jeopardy next season. The safe bet at left guard should be Williams, who enters his fourth year in the NFL.
But it should be noted that Williams is also going to be in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2021.
While it seems premature to ask the question if he comes back the following year, it's something the Cowboys at least need to be thinking about.
Because if there is a chance that Williams and the Cowboys part ways after this season, then it could change the mindset of the starting line, especially if Connor McGovern finds himself in the mix as a viable candidate to compete.
Last season was obviously unique in its own right. The offensive line dealt with numerous injuries across the board, from Tyron Smith to La'el Collins and then Zack Martin and Cam Erving. Even backup center Tyler Biadasz got hurt in the pre-game warmups when he was expected to start.
So there were many different starting combinations across the line, which put McGovern into the rotation quite often. In his first season to play, McGovern started eight of the final nine games at right guard, mostly in place of Zack Martin, who is expected to return to action this season.
So that begs the question – which of the two Connors will get the start at the other guard spot?
Again, all of that is assuming that both Smith and Collins return to their starting posts at tackle. And someone else solidifies the center spot in the middle.
But if it comes down to either McGovern or Williams for another guard spot, it could be an interesting dilemma for the Cowboys, especially if long-term availability comes into play.
Williams had some up-and-down moments last year, as did the entire line. Later in the season against the 49ers, coach Mike McCarthy claimed Williams might've played his best game of his career, at least of the 2020 season.
But on the other side, McGovern was also learning the ropes, playing his first season with the Cowboys after missing his rookie year due to injuries.
As we saw last season, it might be a situation that changes throughout the season on a week-to-week basis.
Certainly, the Cowboys are experienced in that. Either way, have two capable guards on the left side a good problem to have, one that wasn't always presenting itself last season.