When center Travis Frederick retired at 29 earlier this year, it came as a surprise to a number of Dallas Cowboys fans. Frederick has struggled with an autoimmune disease in recent years, but was able to start 16 games for the team in 2019, a truly triumphant comeback story.
On Thursday, the Cowboys effectively closed the door on the possibility of another inspirational return for Frederick, placing him on the reserve/retired list. The five-time Pro Bowler's decision to walk away from the game is now more or less official.
In his time with the Cowboys, Frederick cemented himself as one of the best interior offensive linemen of the past decade. He was a key part of one of the most considently dominant offensive line units in recent years, partering up with fellow Pro Bowlers Tyron Smith and Zack Martin to great effect. He will be missed dearly by the fans in Big D.
This offseason, the Cowboys made sure they had solid depth at center, re-signing Joe Looney and drafting Wisconsin's Tyler Biadasz in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. It's still unsure who will start at center for the Cowboys in Week 1, but it's safe to say it won't be Frederick.
Both of these younger players have their strengths, of course. While he is not a natural center, Looney is the favorite to play the role of successor due to his experience. He started all 16 games at center for the Cowboys when Frederick missed the 2018 season with his battle with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and has been a part of the team since 2016.
For his part, Biadasz brings an outstanding college resume to the table. He started two full seasons for the Badgers and took home the Rimington Trophy for best center in college football last season. The fact that the Cowboys traded up to draft Biadasz also shows that they likely expect him to be the long-term option at center moving forward.
This storyline is definitely something to watch for Cowboys fans heading into 2020. While it's sad to see Frederick go, the Cowboys have some solid options in the middle.