Tyron Smith

Jets To Manage LT Tyron Smith’s Training Camp Workload

Entering the offseason, questions were in place regarding how the Jets would proceed along the offensive line. Both tackle spots have seen veteran additions, although in the case of Tyron Smith and Morgan Moses injuries remain a concern.

Smith established himself as one of the league’s top blindside protectors over the course of his 13-year Cowboys tenure. That period was frequently marred by injuries, however, and the 2010s All-Decade team member last played more than 13 games in a season in 2015. Smith inked a one-year, incentive-laden Jets deal in March.

The 33-year-old is on track to serve as New York’s left tackle starter, an important position considering quarterback Aaron Rodgers is coming off an Achilles tear which sidelined him for essentially his entire debut season with the Jets. Smith’s workload during training camp will be an important factor in his ability to acclimate to his new team. To little surprise, though, the Jets will proceed with caution in his case.

New York will include several rest days in Smith’s practice schedule this summer, Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic notes (subscription required). The eight-time Pro Bowler has missed 37 games across the past four years, appearing in just two contests in 2020 and four in 2022. Remaining healthy would be a critical development for team and player, although the Jets did use their top pick in this year’s draft on tackle Olu Fashanu as a future left tackle starter capable of seeing time as a rookie if needed.

Smith – who had discussions with the Cowboys about a new deal but did not come close on financial terms – will of course help his free agent value with a strong season. A key first step in that regard will be remaining on the field for most of the 2024 campaign, and a training camp regimen aimed at preserving him would mirror the approach Dallas used last year while increasing his chances of being effective down the stretch.

As Rosenblatt notes, Moses (re-acquired to handle right tackle duties) did not practice this spring as he recovers from pectoral surgery. Guard Alijah Vera-Tucker meanwhile, is rehabbing from an Achilles tear although there is optimism he will be ready for the start of the season. There will likely be few practices this summer where all five projected Jets O-line starters are on the field at the same time, but in Smith’s case at least that will be by choice.

Jets, Cowboys Were “Main Options” For Tyron Smith

Before Tyron Smith caught on with the Jets via free agency, the left tackle considered returning to the Cowboys for a 14th season. During his introductory videoconference with the Jets on Thursday, Smith admitted that the Cowboys and Jets were his “main options.” The lineman also seemed to hint that there weren’t many suitors lining up for his services.

[RELATED: LT Tyron Smith Signs With Jets]

“I’m not going to lie, it was slightly stressful a little bit,” Smith said (via ESPN’s Rich Cimini). “I’ve never been in that spot before. I didn’t know how to handle it, and it went by for a week, but I just felt like it was forever.

“The way things were looking in Dallas, I knew it was most likely going to be the Jets. Honestly, I got excited for a new chapter in my life.”

We heard in early March that Smith and the Cowboys were discussing a new deal, but the veteran started to consider other options when negotiations failed to progress. There were reports that the two sides were “drastically apart in the financial framework” of a new contract. Smith ended up accepting an incentive-laden contract to protect Aaron Rodgers in New York. The lineman will anchor a new-look offensive line that also features newcomers John Simpson and Morgan Moses.

“I just feel like they have all the pieces together right now, and they’re getting the final pieces this offseason to produce a team that can go all the way,” Smith said of his decision to ultimately sign in New York.

Injuries were the story during Smith’s long stint in Dallas, with the lineman missing at least three games each season since 2015. Despite the absences, Smith was still among the best OTs in the NFL when healthy. This past season, Pro Football Focus graded him as the fourth-best offensive tackle, including a position-leading pass-block score. His 13-game campaign in 2023 earned him his fifth career All-Pro nod.

The Jets will likely prioritize Smith’s late-season health as they eye a long playoff run. The lineman told reporters that he’s feeling “great” and didn’t end the 2023 campaign with any notable injuries. This uptick in health followed a revised practice regimen in Dallas, and it’ll be interesting to see if the Jets follow a similar template in 2024.

LT Tyron Smith Signs With Jets

MARCH 19: Albert Breer of SI.com provides even more insight on Smith’s incentives. That aforementioned 38-percent snap count will unlock a $750K bonus, and Smith will earn $1MM bonuses for appearing in 44 percent, 50 percent, 56 percent, 62 percent, and 68 percent of his team’s offensive snaps. There are then five subsequent $1.25MM playing-time incentives (74, 80, 86, 92, 98). Smith can earn another $250K for each Jets playoff win and $500K for making the Pro Bowl.

MARCH 16: Smith’s contract with the Jets is based heavily on incentives. Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com passed along last night that $6.5MM of the offensive tackle’s one-year deal is guaranteed. The rest of the $13.5MM can be earned via incentives. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo provides some more insight, noting that Smith will need to play in at least 38 percent of New York’s offensive snaps for the playing-time incentives to kick in.

MARCH 15: The Jets are set to make the final addition necessary to their offensive line as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that former Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith intends to sign with New York. Smith is set to join a retooled offensive line designed to protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Josina Anderson of CBS Sports quickly followed up the report, claiming that Smith confirmed the signing of a one-year deal with the Jets.

Smith has enjoyed what is likely to end up being a Hall of Fame career over the last 13 years in Dallas. While the 33-year-old’s health has made it a struggle to stay on the field for an entire season, that hasn’t stopped Smith from displaying some of the best football of his storied career. In 2023, Smith delivered a season worthy of second-team All-Pro honors. The Cowboys claimed to have found a practice plan that helped to keep him healthier last season, so Smith should be able to bring that plan with him to New York in 2024.

With Smith officially no longer returning to Dallas, the Cowboys will have to figure out a new solution at left tackle. The easy answer is Tyler Smith. Though the younger Smith started every game at left guard this year, the team drafted him in the first round out of Tulsa two years ago to eventually replace Tyron. As Tyron struggled with injury throughout the 2022 season, Tyler spent his rookie year excelling as the starter at left tackle. He should be able to slide back over and retake the job in 2024.

In New York, the offensive line is beginning to become unrecognizable. Starting center Joe Tippmann returns as the sole starter from the final weeks of the 2023 season. Alijah Vera-Tucker should return from a torn Achilles tendon to claim a starting spot, as well. Vera-Tucker’s play at tackle had the Jets considering a full-time switch from guard, but with the team trading for Ravens right tackle Morgan Moses, Vera-Tucker is more likely to shift back into a right guard role, while Moses remains in his usual spot.

General manager Joe Douglas recently said that team intends to play Vera-Tucker at one position this season, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, and though he didn’t say whether it would be guard or tackle at the time, the additions of Moses and Smith seem to point us in the direction of guard. The other guard sport will be manned by another former Raven in John Simpson, who signed with New York on Monday.

With those four in place, all the Jets needed was a blindside tackle. Enter Smith. Schefter reports that Smith’s one-year deal could be worth up to $20MM based on heavy incentives. While the money is certainly a plus, Smith expressed more excitement over protecting Rodgers.

“I feel like (playing with Rodgers is) going to be amazing,” Smith told Anderson over the phone. “Of course, me being with Dallas, he’s kicked our butts twice in the playoffs, so I know what he’s capable of. Honestly, I’m just excited for the opportunity.”

About leaving the Cowboys, Smith said, “I would’ve loved to have stayed home in Dallas, but as we all know, it’s a business, the way it works. I still feel like the Jets have an opportunity to win it, and anything I can do for the team to help them out, I’m going to do my best to do it.”

Patriots Could Pursue Veteran T Tyron Smith

With the seeming end to veteran offensive tackle Tyron Smith‘s time in Dallas, the 33-year-old is expected to hit the free agent market for the first time in his long career. One team expected to push for his services is the Patriots, according to Mark Daniels of MassLive.

With both of last year’s starting offensive tackles, Trent Brown and Michael Onwenu, bound for free agency, the position has become an immediate need. Pursuing a 13-year veteran who hasn’t played every game of a season since 2015 may not seem like the ideal solution to a pressing need, but with the options available in free agency, a short-term solution like Smith may be just what the doctor ordered.

This year’s free agent class won’t be especially strong in the offensive tackle position. Cincinnati’s Jonah Williams or Washington’s Charles Leno probably rival Smith for the top options available. Williams may draw the most interest of the three, since he’s only 26 years old, but he graded out much worse than Smith and Leno, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Smith, on the other hand, graded out as the fourth-best tackle in the league last year and earned second-team All-Pro honors.

Daniels pointed out two other players as focuses for New England, as well, these being players in the building set to depart in free agency. Daniels reported that the Patriots are interested in trying to bring back both tight end Hunter Henry and wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.

Henry and Bourne finished second and third on the team in receiving yards with 419 and 406, respectively, both behind rookie sixth-round pick Demario Douglas. One area in which they both outperformed the rookie was in the endzone. While Douglas failed to register a score in his first NFL season, Henry led the team with six touchdowns and Bourne was close behind with four.

While the team has hopes to extend both players, it sounds like landing either would be a long shot. Daniels reports that Henry and the team “are far apart on an extension,” while the Patriots and Bourne “aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on his market value.” Both players are sure to draw interest from around the league, so if New England isn’t willing to give up some ground, it could lose both Henry and Bourne.

Tyron Smith Unlikely To Return To Cowboys

Tyron Smith‘s 13-year stint in Dallas has likely come to an end. The impending free agent left tackle is unlikely to return to the Cowboys, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

[RELATED: Cowboys, LT Tyron Smith Discuss Possible Return]

This news comes on the heels of yesterday’s report that Smith and the Cowboys discussed a potential return while at the combine. Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News notes that the Cowboys still have interest in re-signing the lineman, but it’s clear the two sides are “drastically apart in the financial framework” of a deal.

The 2011 first-round pick has spent his entire career with the Cowboys, earning five All-Pro nods and eight Pro Bowl appearances. Smith inked an eight-year, $109MM contract back in 2014 that once reset the position’s market. Thanks to multiple restructurings, the veteran earned only $7.3MM this past season, and the organization opted to not hand him an extension.

Injuries continue to plague Smith’s career; the lineman has missed at least three games each season since 2015. The left tackle missed 27 combined games in 2020 and 2022, and he got into 24 of 34 possible games during his two most-recent “healthy” seasons (2021, 2023).

As we passed along yesterday, Smith and the Cowboys agreed to a new practice regimen that was intended to keep the 33-year-old healthy. The organization has also been willing to tolerate his absences as long as he was available for the team’s biggest games. Smith hasn’t missed any of the team’s four playoff games over the past three seasons.

While injuries are a clear issue at this stage of Smith’s career, the offensive lineman has continued to perform when on the field. Pro Football Focus graded him as the fourth-best offensive tackle this past season, including a position-leading pass-block score. Other than his lost 2020 and 2022 campaigns, Smith has graded as at least a top-20 OT in each of his NFL seasons, and it doesn’t look like he’s showing any signs of slowing down.

Still, considering his age and injury risks, Smith can’t expect to break the bank on his next deal. Pro Football Focus pointed to Terron Armstead‘s five-year, $75MM contract with the Dolphins in 2022 as a comparison. While the former Saints OT had his fair share of injuries at the time of the signing, he was also significantly younger than Smith is now. The site ultimately settled on a one-year, $10MM contract for Smith, which would keep him around the top-20 highest-paid players at his position. If a bidding war develops, the veteran could climb the AAV list, although he may be hard pressed to get a long-term deal.

As for the Cowboys, the team seems to have an in-house replacement for Smith. The team used a first-round pick on Tyler Smith in the 2022 draft, and the lineman has only missed three games through his first two seasons in the NFL. Jon Machota of The Athletic notes that offensive tackle is a likely target of the organization with their No. 24 pick.

Cowboys, LT Tyron Smith Discuss Possible Return

Left tackle Tyron Smith has enjoyed what is likely to end up being a Hall of Fame, 13-year career with the Cowboys. The biggest issue in Smith’s game over this time, though, has been his availability, as he’s failed to play in every game in a season since 2015.

As Smith, 33, gets older, his health continues to be a main concern in his decision-making moving forward. As a pending free agent, Smith met with Dallas today in order to lay out a plan for a potential return in 2024.

According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, Smith is definitely interested in playing for a 14th year. The team is currently allowing his eight-year, $97.6MM contract to expire, leading him towards free agency, but both sides will continue to discuss how a return could happen. Team owner/president/general manager Jerry Jones spoke with the media following today’s meetings, per Jon Machota of The Athletic.

[RELATED: Leighton Vander Esch Expected To Retire]

“We’ll get in there in the right way and discuss his business and work out something that’s good for both of us. He’s had a great career. He’s a Hall of Fame player,” Jones said. “I can’t tell you how good of shape I thought we were in with him as we got into the playoffs, his health and where he was. Thought we were just where you want to be. And I give a lot of credit to coach Mike McCarthy, him getting it pushed up there to where we had (Tyron) just right as we went into the playoffs.”

Since 2015, Smith has missed 49 out of a possible 131 regular season games. In two of the last four years, Smith missed 14 (2020) and 13 (2022) games in the regular season. Most of the time, the team is happy for whatever he can provide. Despite not having appeared in more than 13 games over that span, Smith has still earned five Pro Bowl berths and has earned All-Pro honors twice, including this past season.

That being said, the Cowboys are willing to have Smith take regular season rest here and there as he gets older if it means that he will be available for the team’s most important games late in the year. Both sides reportedly felt that they had found a practice plan that has helped keep him healthier, so as long as the numbers are agreeable, it seems like there’s a good chance we’ll see Smith hit 34 years old in the NFL next season.

Tyron Smith Wants To Remain With Cowboys

Tyron Smith has been a mainstay on the Cowboys’ offensive line since 2011. His time with the franchise is in danger of coming to an end this spring, but that will not be the case if he has his way.

Smith is aiming to play one more season as a Cowboy, Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News reports. The 33-year-old is a pending free agent (although the restructured pact he agreed to last March will leave the team with a $6MM dead cap charge in 2024 even if he departs). Smith’s desire to remain in place will lead to an interesting decision on the team’s part given his injury history.

The 2010s All-Decade member has not played a full season since 2015. A number of ailments have led to missed time since then, including those which limited him to a combined total of six games in 2020 and ’22. Smith rebounded this past year by seeing the field for 13 games, all of which came at his familiar left tackle spot. That came after offseason indications pointed to the eight-time Pro Bowler remaining at right tackle, where he played upon his return to the lineup in 2022.

Dallas used a first-round pick on Tyler Smith in 2022 with the intention of using him at guard before succeeding Tyron Smith on the blindside. The latter’s torn hamstring accelerated that plan, but his return to pre-injury form in 2023 allowed Tyler Smith to slide back inside. Tyron Smith graded out as PFF’s fourth-best offensive tackle last season, in large part due to a league-best mark of 89.3 in pass protection.

Given his performance, the two-time All-Pro could be a logical candidate for a much shorter pact that the eight-year one he inked in 2014. On the other hand, the Cowboys need to prepare a plan to transition to younger options with respect to Smith and right guard Zack Martin. The latter is under contract for one more year with a guaranteed salary of $18MM and a $28.5MM cap hit. Dallas also has starting center Tyler Biadasz set to hit free agency, so retaining him would use up resources which could otherwise be given to Smith. With the Cowboys or another team, the latter nevertheless intends to play in 2024.

Tyron Smith Expected To Play Right Tackle

The Cowboys current first-team offensive line may look a whole lot different come Week 1, but we’re starting to get clarity on some of the team’s plans. As Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets, “it would be a surprise” if Tyron Smith isn’t starting at right tackle. Meanwhile, Clarence Hill of the Dallas Star-Telegram writes that the Cowboys are “focused” on keeping Tyler Smith at left tackle.

The Cowboys have stated all offseason that they intend to start their best five offensive lineman, regardless of position. That five-man grouping should eventually include Terence Steele, who is still working his way back from a torn ACL. He could get a look at right tackle and left guard, potentially pushing one of Matt Farniok or Tyron Smith out of the lineup.

However, it sounds like the team intends to stick with the veteran Smith at RT, assuming the lineman is healthy enough to play. The 32-year-old has been limited to only 17 regular season games over the past three years, including a 2022 campaign where he appeared in only four games thanks to a torn hamstring. That injury kept Smith off the field until December, and by the time he returned, he had been pushed out of his normal LT role by Tyler Smith.

The younger Smith was thrust into the LT role after being selected in the first round of last year’s draft. He more than held his own during his rookie campaign, earning PFWA All-Rookie Team honors after starting all 17 games (plus two playoff contests). He ended up finishing the season as Pro Football Focus’ 25th offensive tackle (among 81 qualifying players), with the site preferring his run blocking over his pass blocking.

Elsewhere on the line, Chuma Edoga is expected to get a look at left guard, per Hill. Zack Martin has his position secure at right guard, while Tyler Biadasz will return for his third season as the Cowboys’ starting center.

Latest On Cowboys’ Offensive Line

An avulsion fracture cost Tyron Smith most of last season, and the All-Decade tackle has missed at least three games each year dating back to 2016. The Cowboys are retaining their longest-tenured player on a restructured contract, however, and he is likely moving to right tackle on a full-time basis.

Jerry Jones said the Cowboys are planning to roll out a Tyron Smith-Tyler Smith setup at tackle. That will leave two-year right tackle starter Terence Steele, the team’s preferred La’el Collins successor last year, without a starting role. But the Cowboys prioritized Steele via a second-round restricted free agent tender, doing so despite his lack of a clear path to a first-string gig. He remains in the team’s plans, just not as a starter at present.

Steele is primarily set to become Dallas’ swing tackle, Jones added. This would be a significant downgrade for the quality starter in a contract year, but the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill notes (via Twitter) Steele will be considered at guard. Steele graded as a top-25 option at tackle last season, per Pro Football Focus, who also viewed Tyler Smith as a top-25 tackle. This would be a good problem for the Cowboys, who have needed to make adjustments in recent years due to Collins and Tyron Smith running into injury trouble.

He’s such a top tackle … as we have it right now, he should be the backup tackle on both sides as we would look at it right today,” Jones said of Steele. “That’s a lot of position flex right there. You say, ‘Why don’t you move Tyler in [to guard]?’ but we also know that Tyron and Tyler both would make quite a tandem out there. The smart play would be to have outstanding depth there and Steele gives you that.

Jones also mentioned a possible rotation, which would seemingly involve Steele and Tyron Smith. Even as the organization has moved Tyron off his longtime spot (left tackle), Hill adds it views the Hall of Fame candidate as a superior pass-blocking option to Steele on the right side. Tyron finished last season as Dallas’ primary right tackle, replacing Steele after the younger blocker suffered a torn ACL. For now, the Cowboys will carry all three at tackle.

PFF slotted Steele as a top-10 run blocker at the position, which could open the door to a guard path. Steele was a four-year starter at Texas Tech but played either right or left tackle for the Big 12 program. Dallas did lose its starting left guard in free agency for a second straight year, with Connor McGovern (Bills) following Connor Williams (Dolphins) to the AFC East. Jones pointed to the draft or another in-house solution, mentioning Matt Waletzko or Matt Farniok, as routes the team could take to replace McGovern. The Cowboys chose Waletzko in the 2022 fifth round and added Farinok in the 2021 seventh. Farniok started two games at guard last season; Waletzko played just three games before a shoulder injury shut him down.

NFL Restructures: Smith, Mahomes, Fitzpatrick, Peat, Thomas, Hines, Waller

We had news recently that Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith had agreed to restructure his contract with the team, reducing his massive $17.6MM cap hit. Thanks to Todd Archer of ESPN, we now have some details on the deal. Smith was headed into the last year of an eight-year agreement, so his restructure essentially functions as a one-year contract.

The newly restructured contract will be a one-year, $6MM deal with a potential maximum value of $17MM. He received a $3MM signing bonus for the changes and has his $3MM base salary guaranteed. The deal rapidly escalates from there with several playing time incentives. Smith will receive an additional $1MM bonus for each of these snap share thresholds: 50%, 55%, 60%, 65%, 70%, 75%, 80%, 85%, and 90%. This means that if he plays over 90% of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps, he will receive $9MM, one for each of the nine levels.

He can also receive playoff incentives, 75% of which are paid off of wins alone. The remaining 25% is paid if he plays over half of the team’s offensive snaps in those wins. He would receive $500,000 for each playoff win in which he plays the majority of the snaps. With four possible playoff wins, that’s a total of $2MM in playoff bonuses. Those plus the $9MM from the playing time incentives and the $6MM guaranteed at signing push the contract to it’s maximum value of $17MM.

Here is some other news on restructures from around the league:

  • The Chiefs created some financial breathing room by restructuring star quarterback Patrick Mahomes‘s massive contract, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. The team converted $12MM of his 2023 roster bonus into a signing bonus, creating $9.6MM in cap space for the season.
  • Yates also reports that the Steelers found some cap space by restructuring the contract of a star. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick agreed to a restructured deal that would reward the Steelers with $10.07MM of additional cap space in 2023 by converting $13.42MM of his 2023 salary into a signing bonus.
  • The Saints were able to gain some cap room by restructuring the deal of guard Andrus Peat, according to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football. The team converted $4MM of his 2023 salary into a signing bonus, reducing his salary from $11.83MM to $7.83MM. He then took an additional pay cut to reduce his 2023 base salary to $1.5MM as the team voided out his 2024 salary, adding three more voidable years to the deal. The moves resulted in an additional $9.53MM in cap space for New Orleans.
  • Another NFC South player reportedly took a pay cut as Panthers tight end Ian Thomas agreed to a restructured deal, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. In his new deal, Thomas will earn $3MM in 2023 and $3.65MM in 2024. The deal creates an additional $2.88MM in cap space.
  • Another report from Yates tells us that the Bills have agreed to a renegotiated contract with running back Nyheim Hines. While the details are not yet available, it entails a $1MM signing bonus and the opportunity to earn $4.79MM in bonuses, clearing out some cap space for Buffalo while providing some incentives for Hines next season.
  • Lastly, following the tight end’s trade to the Giants, Darren Waller has agreed to a renegotiated deal with his new team, according to Yates. New York has converted $9.84MM of his 2023 base salary into a signing bonus. The move creates $7.87MM in additional cap space for the Giants.