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Cowboys Sign Veteran Left Tackle Jason Peters

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Veteran left tackle Jason Peters | Image by ESPN

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Veteran left tackle Jason Peters has agreed to join the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad after the team was forced to make a move following the injury of Tyron Smith.

Smith, an eight-time Pro Bowl tackle, is not expected to return any sooner than December.

Since Peters did not have a training camp, he will start on the practice squad to ramp up to game speed before the Cowboys decide if he should be elevated to the active roster, according to ESPN’s Todd Archer.

At age 40, Peters will look to continue proving he can still play one of the most challenging positions in football.

After a long offseason wait last year, Peters joined the Chicago Bears following injuries along their offensive line. He started 15 games for Chicago in 2021 and was the team’s best offensive lineman, according to Pro Football Focus.

Despite playing with the Bears last season, Peters’ best years during his 17-season career have come with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cowboys NFC East rival. Peters started 148 games in 12 seasons with the Eagles after they acquired him before the 2009 season from the Buffalo Bills.

He was a Pro Bowler from 2009-16 with the Eagles and a two-time First-Team All-Pro in 2011 and 2013.

Peters was a member of Philadelphia’s Super Bowl-winning team during the 2017-18 season, though he was hurt through the playoff run.

It will be an awkward moment for Eagles fans if Peters is on the active roster in Week 6 on Sunday Night Football, the first time the Cowboys and Eagles play this season.

“That’s going to be really strange,” current Eagles tackle Jordan Mailata told NBC Sports about Peters joining the Cowboys. “That’s the one thing I did think about actually, was seeing him in a Dallas Cowboys outfit. It’s kind of weird.”

There have been a lot of moves on the Dallas offensive line since the end of last season. Left guard Connor Williams and right tackle La’El Collins, both starters last season, left via free agency.

The team drafted Tyler Smith in the first round with the expectation that he would take Williams’ spot at left guard, but that changed when Tyron Smith went down on August 24 with an avulsion fracture in his left knee.

The rookie Smith is now expected to be the starting left tackle in Week 1, having received a vote of confidence from owner Jerry Jones.

Peters has a Hall of Fame caliber resume. The Bills signed Peters as an undrafted free agent in 2004 after a career as a tight end at the University of Arkansas.

Buffalo’s coaches quickly realized that Peters was a great blocker with nimble feet and good technique and tried him at left tackle. It was clearly the right decision in the long run.

Peters has also shown his ability to overcome adversity, with a strong rebound after suffering a torn ACL and MCL in Week 7 during the 2017 campaign. He started all 16 games in 2018 and made 13 more starts in 2019.

While he was not as dominant as he had been in the past, Peters still played well last season, and Dallas is desperate for tackle depth.

The Cowboys do not have a veteran backup tackle. Josh Ball did not play as a rookie last season because of an ankle injury, and rookie fifth-round pick Matt Waletzko missed most of training camp with a shoulder injury that will ultimately require surgery.

The Cowboys will hope Peters can get up to speed quickly and still play at the high standard he has set for himself.

“This is about adding depth and bringing another excellent player into your program,” Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy told ESPN. “This is about adding a future Hall of Fame player to your … football team.”

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