He wasn't the biggest-name free agent the Dallas Cowboys signed this offseason, but guard Mackenzy Bernadeau is a part of the team's plans for the offensive line. So this report from Todd Archer that Bernadeau had hip surgery last weekend and could miss the next 10 to 12 weeks of the offseason program is not good Cowboys news. The Cowboys are projecting Bernadeau as a starter at guard, though their expectation is that the starting guards will emerge from a group that includes him, fellow free-agent signee Nate Livings and second-year men David Arkin, Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski. The timetable Todd lays out would put Bernadeau on track to return, assuming no setbacks, around the time preseason games start, and as a result he could be well behind the others in that competition for those starting spots.
Again, no one's going to hear this news and shout, "Oh no! We're doomed without Bernadeau!" But the idea behind the Cowboys' plan to fix the interior of their offensive line is that an abundance of quantity and competition would produce the quality starters for whom they're looking. Not having Bernadeau around for the offseason program reduces their numbers by one and, by definition, weakens the level of competition. If nothing else, it deprives them of a chance to get him into their program and find out whether he actually does have what it takes to start for them.
Jon from Atlanta asked in the mailbag this afternoon whether this meant the Cowboys would or should bring back veteran guard Kyle Kosier, whom they cut. But I'd be surprised. There's nothing to indicate Bernadeau can't return in time for the season, and the main reason Kosier was cut was the team's belief that he could no longer hold up physically anyway. Possible, but I doubt they bring in (or bring back) anyone like that.