Cowboys Sign Tyron Smith Replacement for 6th Free-Agent Move of 2024

It’s probably not the left tackle move most would have wanted when free agency began back in March, but the Cowboys at least kept a grip on some veteran depth as they look to fill the gap left by eight-time Pro Bowler Tyron Smith’s departure to the Jets. The team was expected to re-sign tackle Chuma Edoga on Wednesday.

Edoga filled in for Smith at left tackle four times in 2023, when he started six games altogether. There’s a chance that he will be called on to do so again, this time as the permanent starter in 2024, replacing Smith. The Cowboys have the option of moving left guard Tyler Smith over to his natural tackle spot, but coach Mike McCarthy said last week that the intention was to keep Tyler Smith in the fold at guard and fill the left tackle spot elsewhere.

Edoga is the obvious candidate for that spot. But there are a handful of star-level offensive linemen in the upcoming draft who could be ready to assume the role, and the Cowboys are said to be willing to use their first-round pick on one. If they make that pick and the layer is not quite ready to be a starter, Edoga is a comfortable plug-in.

Chuma Udoga Backed Up Tyron Smith

Udoga is 26 and heading into his sixth NFL season. He was originally drafted by the Jets in the third round in 2019, and was claimed by the Falcons after New York let him go three years later. He spent one year in Atlanta but only played two games before the Falcons put him on IR. The Cowboys signed him last year.

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He registered a 61.4 grade for the season at Pro Football Focus, which ranked him 54th out of 81 tackles in the NFL last year.

Udoga could start in 2024, but the more he starts, the more something likely has gone wrong in Dallas—the team would prefer he remain a backup. As ESPN’s Cowboys beat man Todd Archer wrote when analyzing the signing:

What it means: The Cowboys have covered themselves at the swing tackle spot. Edoga appeared in 17 games last season, starting four at left tackle and two at left guard. He struggled late in the season against Miami, but he did enough to warrant to be brought back for another look. Eventually the Cowboys have to see what recent draft picks Asim Richards, Matt Waletzko and Josh Ball can do.”

Cowboys Still Adding to Offensive Line

Still, the tackle spot remains an open question, one of many for the Cowboys. When the Cowboys drafted Tyler Smith as a first-rounder in 2022, the thinking was that Tyron Smith would retire and Tyler Smith would take over at tackle. But Smith has proven to be an effective guard, with a 74.4 PFF grade for 2023, 11th in the NFL among guards.

The concern with moving Smith to take Tyron Smith’s spot at tackle is that Tyler Smith might not be up for the job, which means Dallas will lose a very good left guard and gain an overmatched left tackle.

“Tyler Smith will take another step,” McCarthy said. “We’ll keep him at guard right now, see how it unfolds, but I thought we took a big step. If you look at the makeup of our offensive line last year where our younger players (were) backups and got to play too.

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“I mean, you can put Brock (Hoffman) in the same category; he’s been here and no one was as close to Tyler Biadasz as he was. So I think that’s a natural step for him to step in there and we’ll continue to grow. But we definitely do want to continue to add talent and depth to that room.”

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