The Dallas Cowboys were prepared for an active offseason, but their to-do list keeps getting longer.
An exodus of free agents opened a number of holes along the defense. Then, the offense's interior cratered Monday when Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick announced his retirement.
Dallas already had plenty to do after a disappointing 8-8 season, so how will it handle filling the void left by Frederick? And are there more reinforcements coming for the defensive line? The latest rumblings from the rumor mill will answer both questions.
Frederick's Replacement Already in Dallas?
The business side of sports always moves at a rapid pace—apparently even when the rest of the sports world is shut down by a global pandemic.
So, Frederick's announcement carried a swift, two-part reaction. The first? He will be missed.
"He's just one of those rare guys," former Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told USA Today's Jori Epstein. "I don't know that I've been around a player who everyone trusted so much so quickly."
The second part of the reaction? So, who's taking his spot?
According to The Athletic's Jon Machota, the Cowboys probably have their next starting center on the roster already:
"In regards to his on-the-field replacement, it's a good bet that Dallas will handle that in-house. They are in decent shape at the position. It's unlikely this causes a significant change to the Cowboys' draft strategy. They won't all of a sudden be targeting a center in the first or second round. The most likely candidates to replace Frederick are Connor McGovern, Joe Looney and Adam Redmond."
That said, Dallas might find a way to invest a later-round pick into the position. Even if someone can pick up the slack now, it's always a good time to prepare for the unexpected.
Another Splash Coming on the Defensive Line?
The Cowboys have seen notable names come and go along the defensive front.
Former Pro Bowler Robert Quinn took his team-leading 11.5 sacks and secured the bag by way of a five-year, $70 million deal with the Chicago Bears. But another former Pro Bowler, Gerald McCoy, arrived in Dallas riding an eight-year streak of five-plus sacks. That production netted him a three-year, $18.3 million commitment from the 'Boys.
But these aren't the only notable names connected to the Cowboys.
As NFL Network's Jane Slater reported, Dallas' search for size and upgrades along the defensive front has put a number of prominent players in the crosshairs:
Slater later reported the Cowboys were "closing in on a deal" with Dontari Poe, although nothing official has surfaced since.
Whether Poe is coming or not, it's clear Dallas' plans of revamping the defensive front aren't stopping with McCoy. There isn't a ton of room to improve, but if the club wants to contend for a title, it can't afford to backtrack from last season's 11th-place finish in points allowed.