Here’s Why Moving Terence Steele From RT Is An Awful Idea

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cowboys 2023 free agents

The Dallas Cowboys are considering starting Tyron Smith at RT next season, which would move Terence Steele to G or into a swing tackle role. Wait, what?

Yes, you read that right. 

Steele had a phenomenal 2022 campaign at RT that was cut short due to injury. He impressed enough to receive a 2nd round tender from the Cowboys, keeping him in Big D at a $4.3 million cap hit in 2023. Though, it’s been reported that the team is interested in extending Steele with a multi-year deal.

You’d think all that would secure his starting position at RT, but apparently not. A few days ago at the NFL Annual Meeting, Jerry Jones told reporters he sees Steele as a tackle that could provide depth behind Tyler Smith at LT, and Tyron at RT.

Yesterday, Mike McCarthy told the media that Dallas is looking at cross training Steele at G. While nothing is official and as of now, and this could all wind up being offseason talking points that never come to fruition, we’re still going to overreact to the comments from Jones and McCarthy.

Dallas Is Going To Rely On Tyron Smith? Really?

Tyron is a Cowboys legend who deserves an induction into the Ring of Honor once he retires. He’s also got an excellent shot at earning a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But Tyron hasn’t displayed the ability to stay healthy in recent seasons. The last time he suited up for every game in the regular season was 2015.

Things have been especially rough for the 32-year-old since 2020. In that time, he’s missed 33 total games due to injury.

Tyron is no longer reliable enough to start at LT or RT, which makes it particularly unwise to take a young player in Steele and alter his development by switching positions.

What Happened To Running The Damn Ball?

Earlier this month, McCarthy told ESPN that with him calling offensive plays in 2023, the Cowboys will establish the run more compared to last season. Here’s what McCarthy had to say:

“Kellen wants to light the scoreboard up, but I want to run the damn ball so I can rest my defense. I think when you’re a coordinator, you’re in charge of the offense. Being a head coach and being a playcaller, you’re a little more in tune with [everything].”

In 2022, Steele was the sixth-best run blocking OT in the NFL, per PFF player grades. His 82.1 grade also led all Cowboys starters.

PFF’s grades obviously shouldn’t be the gold standard for coaches making personnel decisions. But it does give a good idea of what a player excels at, and for Steele that would be run blocking.

So if McCarthy is truly interested in running the damn ball in 2023, why force Steele into a new position?

Could This Open The Door For Steele To Leave Big D?

Offensive tackles receive higher pay than guards in the NFL. The average base salary of the five highest-paid OTs in 2023 is just above $16 million. For Gs, that number is just above $11 million.

Steele is set to be an unrestricted free agent after this season. If the team makes him a swing tackle behind Tyler and Tyron, that would certainly lessen his value on the open market if he sees less playing time.

If Steele is moved to G, that would also lessen his potential payday with the Cowboys, or a new squad interested in signing him.

If Steele is moved from his role as starting RT in 2023, he should be looking to find a starting role at the position in free agency in 2024. It would likely secure him more money in the long-term, unless Dallas offers a lucrative contract extension.


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