Broncos expected to let Ronald Leary walk, guard open to Cowboys reunion: ‘I do still have my crib in Dallas’


A reunion might be in order here. It’s well-known the Dallas Cowboys have had issues at the left guard position recently, and not-so-coincidentally since they allowed Ronald Leary to walk in free agency. The veteran offensive lineman joined the Denver Broncos following the 2016 season on a four-year, $36 million deal, and that was a price the Cowboys weren’t willing to pay. They’ve since been trying to figure out how to fill the void left behind by Leary, but haven’t consistently been able to over the past three seasons.

Leary’s deal with the Broncos included a team option in 2020 that they have reportedly chosen to not exercise, per Adam Schefter of ESPN, making him an unrestricted free agent this offseason and leaving them with a dead money hit of $875,000. Leary himself effectively confirmed the news on social media, when the idea of a possible reunion with the Cowboys began floating about. 

The 30-year-old feels there’s a lot of fuel left in the tank, and is ready to prove it.

And when mentioned directly in the same breath as Cowboys free agency, Leary simply tweeted a thinking-face emoji before reminding everyone he never actually moved out of the Metroplex.

I do still have my crib in Dallas,” he wrote.

An undrafted free agent of the Cowboys in 2012, Leary worked his way up to starting left guard on what was easily the most dominant offensive line in all of football at the time. Things got tenuous between him and the Cowboys when he’d eventually lose his starting role to La’El Collins in 2016, who played guard at the time. When Collins went down with a torn ligament in his big toe early that season — landing him on injured reserve — Leary was again thrust into the driver’s seat. 

He made the most of his contract year by playing well in his 12 starts, after an injury-marred 2015 season, boosting his stock as he entered free agency. The injury bug bit him again in Denver though, suffering a back injury and then a torn Achilles that landed him on IR in 2017 and 2018, respectively, but his 12 starts in 2019 provides evidence he’s once again healthy. 

Leary still loves the City of Dallas and is open to a renewing of vows with the Cowboys, and the idea shouldn’t be dismissed.

Granted, the Cowboys selected Connor McGovern in 2019 to help aid their cause at the guard position, but he spent his rookie season as a redshirt due to a torn pec that landed him on injured reserve before he took a single snap. Second-year talent Connor Williams took steps in the right direction with his strength and level of play, but battled a knee injury that required arthroscopic knee surgery mid-season and later tore his ACL. 

Backup guard Xavier Su’a-Filo stepped in and played impressive football, but a broken leg sent him to join McGovern and Williams on IR late in the season. 

So while Leary has had his own bouts of injury, he’s still a starting caliber guard at the NFL level who would give the Cowboys time to acclimate McGovern after a missed rookie season and his addition would immediately shore up the biggest hole in Dallas’ offensive line, while also allowing him to impart knowledge on the future at the position — namely Williams and McGovern. Su’a-Filo is a ready-made rotational talent who can step up and start in a pinch, but Leary simply brings more to the table. That isn’t to say the former should be shed for the latter, but instead to point out how having both could only help the Cowboys going forward.

There are others behind Su’a-Filo, Williams and McGovern who would be justifiable roster casualties to make room for Leary, and considering the price to return him to North Texas would now be much more palatable, there’s nothing left to do but pull the trigger.





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