9:15am: NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Smith’s injury is an avulsion fracture of the knee, similar to the one which ended Jets tackle Mekhi Becton‘s year. The required surgery will keep him out until at least December, though it remains in doubt if Smith plays at all in 2022.
1:03am: The Cowboys will be without their All-Pro left tackle for a lengthy stretch. Tyron Smith suffered a torn hamstring during the team’s Wednesday practice, Todd Archer and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com report.
Smith’s latest injury could sideline him for months. This will mark the second severe Smith injury in three seasons; he missed 14 games in 2020 due to a neck injury. This latest Smith health-related development is a massive blow to the Cowboys’ offense, which was already set to begin the season without key personnel. More tests are on tap Thursday.
Going into his 12th season as Dallas’ left tackle, Smith is on the back nine of what could well be a Hall of Fame career. The former first-round pick landed on the 2010s’ All-Decade team and has eight Pro Bowls and two first-team All-Pro nods on his resume. Following the 2020 neck injury, Smith returned to the Pro Bowl last season. But injuries have steadily dogged the veteran blocker. He has missed 32 games over the past six seasons, including six last year.
Dallas has Smith tied to the same contract he signed way back in 2014 — the oldest active NFL deal — but began preparing for the future this year. The team drafted Tulsa tackle Tyler Smith in Round 1. The younger Smith was expected to line up alongside the 31-year-old vet, competing for left guard duty. But a future move to left tackle — his college position — is in the cards. That future could begin early. Two seasons remain on Tyron Smith‘s 10-year deal.
Tyler Smith was not a lock to beat out veteran guard Connor McGovern for the left guard job, with Mike McCarthy indicating Wednesday that McGovern would win that job if the season started today. But Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News notes the rookie made a strong case for the gig during Dallas’ second preseason game. Tyler Smith has also missed recent practice time with an ankle malady.
Eric Fisher resides as a tackle who could generate interest as a stopgap, if the Cowboys do not want to turn to their first-round rookie just yet. Fisher is a nine-year starter who spent 2021 as the Colts’ first-stringer. Jason Peters and Nate Solder are also unsigned. The former, despite turning 40 this year, said during the offseason he hoped to play this season.
The Cowboys are turning to 2020 starter Terence Steele at right tackle, where he will replace longtime starter La’el Collins. The team used a fifth-round pick on tackle Matt Waletzko and has second-year tackle Josh Ball in the picture as well. They also will begin the season without wideouts Michael Gallup and James Washington.