Cowboys Lose Offensive Tackle for Entire 2021 Season

Cowboys offensive line

Getty Cowboys offensive line

When the Dallas Cowboys signed safety Malik Hooker earlier this week, they were required to make a corresponding move to meet the 90-man offseason roster limit.

That roster move, the Cowboys announced Tuesday, was the transference of offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to injured reserve, ending his 2021 campaign before it began.

“Cowboys OT Mitch Hyatt is not eligible for in-season activation from injured reserve. Barring an injury settlement and him signing with another team, he’ll miss a second straight year,” reported Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News.

The official team website noted that Hyatt was “working back” from a knee injury — a torn ACL — that torpedoed his 2020 campaign.

The 24-year-old joined Dallas in 2019 as an undrafted free agent; he’s yet to appear in a regular-season game for the organization. Hyatt had been competing with the likes of Terence Steele, Isaac Alarcon, and Josh Ball for a deep reserve spot behind starting Cowboys tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins.

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Pessimism Abounds Regarding OT Position

The Cowboys sorely missed their stud edge protectors, sidelined by significant injuries last season. Now both healthy and in particularly excellent shape, the widely-held hope is that Smith and Collins return to dominance, reforming the best front-five in the business.

“Tyron Smith and La’el Collins both look like healthy, motivated guys. It’s pretty obvious they’ve been grinding this offseason, and I think it’s going to pay dividends,” in-house reporter David Helman recently wrote. “Of course, you can’t completely ignore injury concerns for two veterans playing such a physical position. But I think Smith and Collins are both going to play 13 or more games this year, and it’s going to make a world of difference for this team.”

But not everyone is flatulating rainbows in regard to the veteran tackles. Even those paid by the team to (when applicable) flatulate rainbows, some of whom believe the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

“I couldn’t pretend to confidently make a medical prediction about Tyron Smith and La’el Collins,” in-house reporter Jonny Auping argued. “That said, I’m not sure I understand the logic behind the optimism. They are both coming off of significant injuries. I’m sure their surgeries addressed the issues, and the Cowboys have a great medical staff, but when you play offensive tackle in the NFL, the reality is that you’re risking a potential injury every time you step on the field, and I think it’s safe to say that serious hip and neck injuries only increase that possibility. I’ve heard people say that La’el and Tyron are “as tough as they come” but that’s an antiquated perspective to me. It’s not about toughness, and you don’t want any players gritting through real injuries. I certainly don’t think that they’re going to miss a combined 20 games or anything. But if one of them misses 2-5 games it could be enough to hamstring an explosive offense. I’m obviously hoping for 17 games from them.”

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