The Dallas Cowboys coaching staff last year saw something in undrafted rookie Terence Steele that most of the rest of us, frankly, did not see.
And by the start of this NFL season? Other teams apparently started seeing it, too, and sniffed around the Cowboys' potential willingness to trade the guy who is presently - temporarily - Dallas' starting right tackle.
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.
Steele, Burkhardt tweeted on October 4, "may be the hardest working and most dedicated client I have ever represented. 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 because they see his tremendous upside and future.''
The Cowboys were wise to decline any offers, because when La’el Collins was suspended for five games in September (which Dallas officials probably knew was coming), it led to the emergence of Steele, who has filled in at right tackle solidly in Collins’ absence.
“To play in this league, you have to have major confidence in yourself,” Steele said recently. “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 do feel more confident this year in my abilities.”
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Steele was forced into the lineup in 2020, a baptism by fire that surely helped his readiness. Now he's good enough that in an interview with 105.3 the Fan, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted that Steele had an “argument” to keep the starting spot.
“I guess that’s OK 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 ... with the Cowboys.''
But to be clear: Collins, who returns to the team after the end of Week 6 (with the Cowboys at New England today), is the superior player. As Jones said, "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.”
Translating Jerry? Steele is "depth.'' And an "alternative'' in case of shuffling or injury. And as the Cowboys have every reason to look at trade ideas (see Joe Haden here) and at 4-1 to be in go-for-it mode? Collins is a starter. But Steele is a keeper.
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