Free Agent Left Guard Option For Big D

A potential reclamation steal for the Dallas Cowboys this off-season is former UTEP star and NY Giants free agent left guard, Will Hernandez.   With the expected departure of Connor Williams, the Dallas Cowboys will be in the market for an experienced left guard for potential starts or at the minimum quality depth.  

Dallas does not like to spend big money on other team free agents but prefers to find those reclamation projects that they can bring in and offer a new situation especially if the player is a former highly drafted talent.   Players like Devin Smith, Xavier Su’a Filo, Allen Hurns, Joe Looney, Cameron Fleming, Marc Colombo, and others through the years would be some examples.  

Hernandez, like many on the Giants, did not have a good year. 

 Stats per PFF.com   
 2021202020192018
 Will Hernandez   
Snaps104952510681027
Penalties8142
Sack7125
     
 Connor Williams   
Snaps9481146727688
Penalties15465
Sack1415
     

A few items to keep in mind regarding Hernandez.

·        In his first four years in the NFL, Will had four different offensive line coaches.   Hal Hunter in 2018 and 2019, Marc Colombo for 10 games in 2020 and Dave DeGuglielmo after Colombo termination after week 10 and Rob Sale in 2021.    Not exactly, a textbook start to an NFL career.  

·        Initial reviewing his 2021 numbers and you wonder – why was there such a drastic increase in both penalties and sacks after more than respectable numbers the previous three years?   Finding out that Will switched this season to right guard after playing left guard a spot he has operated since high school makes these numbers much more understandable.

·        Another major factor in his up and down career certainly the lack of success of the Giants who are 19-46 during Will’s career.   The Giants offensive line was constantly in flux, getting different coaching and direction on a yearly basis.

Case for Dallas to take a risk on a low risk type of deal

·        Will has a good relationship with the current Cowboys offensive linemen

·        Hernandez trains in Dallas with Duke Mayweather who has done a great job improving many NFL players including Terrence Steele.

·        He is only 27 and looking at the numbers from his first two years makes me believe the draft analysis was much more on target than this past season. 

·        Dallas has done this type of signing before with Xavier Su’a Filo when he was a street free agent.  Both Hernandez and Su’a Filo have a similar story Will being the 33rd pick in 2018 and Xavier was the 34th pick in 2014 round two when they came out of college.   Xavier is 6-4 and 310 pds and Hernandez is 6-3 and 332 pounds.   Xavier’s addition to the Cowboys stabilized the offensive line until the team felt Connor Williams was ready to take over the spot.   Su’a-Filo signed a 3-year deal, 10 million contract with the Bengals.   My feelings is with consistent coaching and quality offensive line surrounding him Hernandez at a minimum should be able to provide the same type of stability that Su’a Filo provided and at best he could be a steal and a more permanent member of the new offensive line in Big D.

·        Verdict:   A two-year deal for five million with some performance incentives should be a fair deal for both parties.

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