The Dallas Cowboys re-sign center Phil Costa to a two-year contract today, ending any speculation that the team was looking to replace their center. Costa was a restricted free agent so the Cowboys were able to negotiate with Costa before he hit the market.
It’s the wrong move for the Cowboys and it’s because it sends the wrong message. By re-signing Costa, as good as they feel he played in brief time last season, but by re-signing him, the Cowboys are virtually guaranteeing the same offensive line as last year. The team has been clear about having Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau return and they restructured the contract of backup center Ryan Cook, so no matter who snaps the ball for Dallas, they will have at least four of their five starting lineman back next year.
It’s unclear what the Cowboys plan to do with right tackle Doug Free yet but the team has given indications that he will be back as well, although perhaps with a reduced roll. If Free did return to his spot at right tackle, it would represent the return of all five starters from a sub-par group that allowed quarterback Tony Romo to get sacked a career high 36 times last year.
I’m not pretending to know who the Cowboys are going to start on their offensive line when they open the season in September but I do know that they are bringing back almost all of the players that didn’t perform well last season. The biggest question is how will the same players fix a major problem they created themselves?
By keeping the same linemen, the Cowboys are telling the fans that they don’t think the line is a problem and that is a dangerous proposition. You can’t find a scout, coach, analyst or fan who don’t think Cowboys need to upgrade their offensive line, yet here we sit with the same cast of characters on the offensive line. It leads us to assume the Cowboys don’t feel it’s as big of a problem as it really is. Which could mean fans shouldn’t expect the Cowboys to be drafting Chance Warmack or any other offensive linemen with the 18th pick in the draft.
Again, we don’t know what the Cowboys plan is for their offensive line, the only thing we can do is gather an idea based on what they’ve done so far. By those standards, it doesn’t look good.
Insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results, and it’s a lesson the Dallas Cowboys still haven’t learned about their offensive line.
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