Panic set in after Dallas Cowboys starting right tackle La’el Collins was suspended for five games in September. It may have been a blessing in disguise as it led to the emergence of Terence Steele, who has filled in more than admirably in Collins’ absence.
So much so that some fans are wondering if Collins will regain the starting right tackle spot when he returns. During an interview with Dallas’ 105.3 the Fan, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted that Steele had an “argument” to keep the starting spot and stopped short of definitely saying that Collins would automatically take back his role in the lineup.
“I guess that’s okay to say an argument, a case, whatever and boy, has he,” Jones noted on October 12. “He’s just played outstanding. Boy, he’s shown me that he’s got a long-term future in this game and this game with the Cowboys. So, he’s played outstanding, relatively speaking.
“Now, that doesn’t mean that La’el Collins is any less of a player. La’el Collins is a significant member of the team. This just gives us what you hope for and that is a young player ascending and gives us depth and gives us, if you will, an alternative. All of that’s there.”
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The Cowboys Received Trade Calls for Steele
It is a good problem for the Cowboys to have regardless of who Mike McCarthy opts to play when Collins returns in Week 8. Steele’s agent Erik Burkhardt recently revealed that the Cowboys received calls in the preseason about potentially trading Collins. The offensive lineman’s value has only increased since he has been inserted into the starting lineup.
“@terencesteele78 may be the hardest working & most dedicated client I have ever represented,” Burkhardt tweeted on October 4. “He’s just on another level. All of that work is paying off. I believe multiple teams called the Cowboys this preseason to trade for him bc they see his tremendous upside & future. 📈”
NFL Pro Personnel Staffer: Steele is ‘One of the Most Improved Players on the Dallas Roster’
Steele has earned a 69 grade from Pro Football Focus for his play through Week 5. This is a sharp increase from the dismal 53 grade he notched in 2020. It is not just the Cowboys who are noticing Steele’s improvement as the tackle is also generating buzz around the NFL.
“Spoke to a pro personnel guy who is doing some advance work on the Cowboys…right tackle Terence Steele got some serious props,” Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson said on Twitter on October 4. “This evaluator says Steele looks like one of the most improved players on the Dallas roster this season.”
Steele: ‘I Worked My Butt off This Whole Offseason’
Steele credited his turnaround to “work[ing] his butt off” over the offseason. The hard work has paid off as Steele looks to have proven he is a starting NFL offensive linemen.
“To play in this league, you have to have major confidence in yourself,” Steele said in September, per The Athletic’s Jon Machota. “I worked my butt off this whole offseason, just for this moment, to prepare for this moment. I still have to continue to build off this. … I feel more comfortable out here for sure than last year. I didn’t have a preseason. I do feel more confident this year in my abilities.”