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Saturday, August 27, 2011
Could Andre Gurode be done in Dallas?

By Dan Graziano

Assuming my power stays on long enough here in Northern New Jersey Saturday night, I will be watching the Dallas Cowboys' preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings. But even if the power does stay on, I won't be seeing center Andre Gurode, who is apparently healthy but won't be playing as the team ponders his future, his salary and his spot on the roster. Gurode has a $5.5 million base salary and a $7.2 million cap number this season, and it appears as though the team would like him to take a pay cut.

Seems like odd timing, but it apparently speaks to how impressed the Cowboys have been with the play of Phil Costa, who's been filling in at center this preseason while Gurode has been hurt. Costa won't play Saturday either, since he's out with a knee injury. But Jerry Jones told reporters in Minneapolis that they expect Costa to be back by the season opener. If Gurode is gone (or even if he stays and takes that pay cut), Costa looks like the likely starter at center to begin the season as long as he's healthy.

This likely also says a lot about what the team thinks of rookie Bill Nagy, the seventh-rounder who's been starting at left guard lately in place of the injured Montrae Holland. The starting left guard job is still probably Holland's if he gets back and healthy, but the team has been impressed with Nagy, who can play guard or center, and his strong showing thus far improves their position in these talks with Gurode.

With rookie Tyron Smith already set to start at right tackle, the Cowboys' offensive line is clearly in flux with a couple of weeks left before the season starts. Keep a close eye on Nagy Saturday night to see how he holds up. Kevin Kowalski's going to start at center Saturday, but he's not likely to be a factor during the regular season.