Fishing for a spot: Tyler Guyton pick may mean Bass is out of starting opportunity

The dominos are starting to fall. For months no one knew whether the Cowboys were going to address center first or left tackle first. Center would indicate Tyler Smith was on his way to LT while drafting a LT would indicate Smith is staying at left guard.

Smith was going to start in either situation but the players filling in the gaps around him didn’t face the same level of assuredness in 2024. Smith moving to LT would bump T.J. Bass to the top of depth chart at LG. Bass had a standout season in spot duty as a rookie and appears to have starting potential in the NFL.

But with Smith staying at LG, those starting lineup dreams get put on the backburner. There’s no better guard duo in the league than Zack Martin and Smith and unless Bass throws his hat into the ring at center, he’s likely to be a reserve lineman in 2024.

Bass may not have to wait long to get a starting opportunity back. Minus the void years, Martin is playing on the last year of his deal, and at age 35 may be ready to retire in 2025. Bass, 25, would then be the favorite to replace him.

Bass, a second-year player out of Oregon, has been just the latest success story of undrafted gems the Cowboys have found. His size, movement and strength make him future starting material, and his ability to play both sides make him presently the ideal reserve.

In a parallel universe the Cowboys would have drafted Graham Barton at 24 and handed the starting LG gig to Bass. But the timeline in the here and now has different plans for Bass. Guyton’s addition likely means Bass’s dreams of starting will have to wait another year. He’s one of the first dominos to fall into place but he won’t be the last.

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Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire