Did Cowboys tamper, reach out to veteran tackle Andrew Whitworth, or nah?

·4 min read

The Dallas Cowboys have been thin along the offensive line all offseason and the situation became more dire when left tackle Tyron Smith was lost for months when he tore his left hamstring from the bone. There’s optimism (isn’t there always with Jerry Jones) Smith could come back late in the season and help for a playoff push, but that’s a long way off and the Cowboys need to figure out what to do now.

Going in-house and kicking off Tyler Smith’s development as the future left tackle seems like the most logical of all the options, or the team could go outside the organization and fine a veteran free agent to replace Tyron Smith. There are a few decent tackles the Cowboys could bring in that remain available.

One of the more intriguing names that felt like a shot in the dark might be becoming a serious option. Veteran tackle Andrew Whitworth, who retired after winning the Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams last season, said his phone has been ringing. But there’s confusion about who was on the other end of the line.

This would be a sneaky good option for the Cowboys. Whitworth is a crafty veteran who played 16 seasons in the NFL and is a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All Pro. The Cowboys could use his veteran leadership, and even though Whitworth has slowed down a bit and his last Pro Bowl season was in 2017, he would be the best option available.

While it sounds like a smart idea, one of the issues would be getting Whitworth up to football speed quickly for the season. The Cowboys begin the 2022 campaign in just over two weeks, and it would be hard to see Whitworth being ready for Week 1. It would be more important to have the veteran LT around for the long haul of the season, but the offensive line would probably have to work through the same issues without Smith until Whitworth worked into football shape.

However, the biggest question mark is his family.

Whitworth did say that his possible return would come down to his wife and kids giving their stamp of approval. It’s hard to tell if this response was tongue and cheek, or if Whitworth was serious about getting back into the game. And while it’s easy to interpret Whitworth’s comments that the Cowboys have called him, he never said they were one of the teams that contacted him, just that his phone has been ringing and implied that Dallas was one the teams who reached out. Something Whitworth’s wife was quick to observe.

If the Cowboys themselves did call Whitworth, or have an intermediary do it, that would be considered tampering. Whitworth had a season left on his deal when he retired from the Rams. He’s still technically their employee and would have to give permission for a deal to be approached, and either release him or work out trade compensation.

Whitworth has since stepped in to try and clarify the situation even further, denying contact and interest.

 

The recently retired offensive lineman does look like he still has the size to lace it up again to play, and if he does want to return, it sounds like the Cowboys would have competitors for his services, not something Stephen Jones likes to hear to get Whitworth for as cheap as possible.

There’s no doubt that Dallas needs help at left tackle and Whitworth would make an excellent option. But Cowboys fans shouldn’t hold their breath on him making his return with the Cowboys.

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Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire