In recent years, the offensive line has been a position of strength for the Dallas Cowboys. But that was not the case last year after the unit was decimated with injuries early in the season. However, those injuries led to opportunities for other players — like Connor McGovern.
It appears that McGovern played well enough in the nine games he appeared in (eight starts) to garner trade interest from several teams.
Since he is not in the starting lineup this season, the team could theoretically afford to trade him. It could be an opportunity to add some much-needed talent to the defensive side of the ball. However, when you consider recent history, trading McGovern would not be a good idea.
Injuries decimated the offensive line last season. At one point, four of five starters were out of the lineup. Consequently, the play of the line suffered, as did the offense as a whole. But the injuries led to several players getting some experience.
There was certainly a learning curve for McGovern when he was inserted into the lineup in Week Six for an injured Zach Martin. While his play for the season graded out at 61.7 (47th of 80 players), he improved enough as the season went on to make teams interested in obtaining his services.
Now that he is back in a reserve role, the Cowboys could afford to trade him if an offer was good enough. But it does not sound like they are going to entertain any trade offers for McGovern.
“Connor McGovern is just continuing to build off of last year,” head coach Mike McCarthy said. He had a tremendous finish as far as his growth as a player throughout last year. He had a strong finish at the end of the year, and he’s continued that.”
Because of that growth, the team seems to think he has the potential to be a starter. Consequently, they are reluctant to trade him away.:
“You’ve got to have seven or eight of these guys [offensive linemen] to make it through a season,” Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said. “So, I find it really hard to see us doing anything that would hurt us in that area right there.”
Injury issues from last season aside, the Cowboys have also yet to deal with the retirement of center Travis Frederick. Tyler Biadasz is currently listed as the center with the first unit. Last season, he earned a grade of 53.5—good enough for 32nd out of 36.
If Biadasz cannot improve his game or if he struggles, the team may decide to give Connor Williams another look at center. Should they do that, the Cowboys would need McGovern to return the starting lineup as a guard.
Could a trade for some much-needed talent on defense benefit the Cowboys? Of course, but it would be more beneficial to have him on the roster if the line gets hit hard by injuries again. So, unless someone is willing to give up a starting-caliber defensive back or defensive lineman, the smart move is to hold onto him.
And it is a smart move that the Cowboys appear to be making.