Tyron Smith

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.

Cowboys Reach Restructure Agreement With Tyron Smith

MARCH 15: The Cowboys have reached a restructure agreement with Smith, according to the team. This move, which Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (via Twitter) will involve converting part of the All-Decade-teamer’s $13.6MM base salary into incentives, will reduce his $17.6MM cap number.

FEBRUARY 28: Tyron Smith remains attached to the NFL’s longest-standing contract, an extension he agreed to back in 2014. The All-Decade tackle has finally reached a contract year.

The Cowboys drafted Tyler Smith in the 2022 first round and plugged him in at Tyron’s longtime spot, after the elder Smith suffered a significant hamstring injury that kept him off the field for most of the season. But the Cowboys look to envision the Smith-Smith setup persisting for at least one more season.

The team expects Tyron Smith back in the fold in 2023. The final year of Smith’s contract calls for a $17.6MM cap number and $13.6MM base salary. Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones did not rule out another restructure, a well the Cowboys have gone to a few times with the Hall of Fame-caliber blocker.

I mean, we always do reworks and things of that nature. That could come up with him,” Jones said, via ESPN.com’s Todd Archer (on Twitter). “We have the ability to do that and, but right now, we’re comfortable where we are.”

The Cowboys restructured Smith’s deal in 2016, 2017, 2020 and 2021. It remains interesting Smith’s eight-year, $97.6MM extension has lasted this long. The 6-foot-8 blocker, however, ran into a host of injury issues over the course of this contract. The most notable setbacks came during the 2020s, with a neck malady sidelining him for almost all of the 2020 season and last year’s avulsion fracture shelving him for 13 games. Smith also underwent arthroscopic knee surgery this offseason. The injuries notwithstanding, Smith has piled up Pro Bowls to assemble a quality Canton case.

Where Tyron Smith lines up next year will be one of the key Cowboys storylines coming out of the offseason. The team still has Terence Steele in its plans. The team’s post-La’el Collins solution at right tackle, Steele is recovering from ACL and MCL tears. The young blocker is ahead of schedule in his rehab, Archer tweets, and on track for training camp. The Cowboys have not determined which RFA tender will be applied to the former UDFA, but Archer adds the rarely used first-round tender ($6MM this year) is in play. The second-round tender is set to cost $4.3MM.

Steele, 25, certainly could generate interest if a second-round tender is applied. The Cowboys would collect a second-round pick if they failed to match an offer sheet for the 40-game starter. Steele returning would restore the uncertainty regarding the Smiths’ positions. Rather than slot Tyron Smith at his blindside post, the Cowboys used the 12-year veteran to replace Steele. Moving Tyler Smith back to guard, his position during training camp, could stunt his growth. The Cowboys expect Tyler Smith to be their long-term left tackle, potentially pointing to Steele or Tyron Smith needing to move off right tackle.

Cowboys Restructure Dak Prescott’s Deal

Entering Friday more than $16MM over the cap, the Cowboys have moved well under the 2023 salary ceiling. They restructured the contracts of Dak Prescott and Zack Martin, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

These revisions cleared approximately $30MM in cap space for the Cowboys, who recently allocated $10.1MM to a Tony Pollard franchise tag. The conversion involved around $29MM of Prescott’s 2023 base salary shifting to a signing bonus, Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets. This restructure will either bump up Prescott’s 2024 cap number or add more void years to his deal, but it will drop the quarterback’s 2023 cap figure from a historically high place. Prescott’s 2024 number now comes in at around $59MM, Archer tweets. That number will obviously be untenable for the team.

Prescott was set to carry a $49.13MM cap number this year. No player had previously played a season with a cap hit higher than $46MM, though Deshaun Watson is currently on track to do so. The Browns are considering restructuring their quarterback’s fully guaranteed deal, and Prescott’s restructure will only lead to more talk of another extension coming to pass.

Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones said a second Prescott extension is likely to happen. The Cowboys have Dak signed on his $40MM-per-year contract for two more seasons. Prior to Friday’s restructure, the QB was set to carry a $52.1MM cap hit in 2024. With that number venturing deeper into uncharted waters via today’s transaction, Prescott extension talk figures to accelerate. The parties are not believed to have entered discussions about a new deal, but Prescott said recently he looks forward to an extension “when that time comes.”

This restructure will increase Prescott’s leverage, as Dallas will be eager to reduce his 2024 cap number. Daniel Jones‘ $40MM-per-year deal and the potential re-ups for Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert — and whatever happens with Lamar Jackson this year — also will work in Prescott’s favor. When Prescott and the Cowboys negotiated up until the 2020 franchise tag extension deadline, a deal in the $35MM-AAV range was rumored. It ended up being pushed to $40MM ahead of the 2021 March tag deadline. Once Hurts, Burrow and Herbert sign, the next round of Prescott talks could center around a number beginning with a 5.

I don’t want to dare do this to Dak or me or anybody,” Jerry Jones said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Clarence Hill. “But I think just as [Tom] Brady became better and better and more impactful on how they won as he got into his career, I think that really [Dak] has those qualities. I think he can get better.

Martin’s $14MM-per-year contract runs through 2024. The team is also in talks with Tyron Smith about a potential reworking, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The team is trying to reduce Smith’s $17.6MM cap number. Attached to the NFL’s longest-running contract, Dallas’ left tackle is finally near the end of that eight-year pact. It expires after the 2023 season. Two void years are already on Smith’s contract, limiting the Cowboys’ options with their 12-year tackle. The team is trying to keep Smith in the fold for a 13th season.

Latest On Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott, Tyron Smith

The Cowboys have plenty of pieces already in place which helped take the team to the divisional round of the playoffs this season, but key decisions lay ahead with several high-profile players. A number of Dallas’ longest-tenured offensive contributors face uncertain futures in 2023.

One of those is running back Ezekiel Elliott. The 27-year-old has long been thought to be a cut candidate, owing to his shrinking role in Dallas’ backfield behind Tony Pollard and his cumbersome salary and cap hit remaining on his current contract. The former top-five pick recently made clear his intention of at least considering a pay cut if it helped keep him with the Cowboys, something the team would be mutually agreeable to in principle.

Dallas owner Jerry Jones and EVP Stephen Jones indicated that they want Elliott to remain in the fold for 2023, but added that both parties will “have to talk business” to make such a scenario financially feasible (Twitter link via Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). Elliott has scheduled cap hits of at least $14.3MM for each of the four years remaining on his deal, though no guaranteed money remains on his pact.

The Cowboys’ decision with respect to Elliott will have to come against the backdrop of their desire to keep Pollard. The latter is a pending free agent, but could at least be retained for the 2023 season via the franchise tag ($10.1MM). Pollard is currently recovering from a broken leg, but the former fourth-rounder has firmly established himself as the more efficient member of Dallas’ halfback tandem. How much the team is willing to spend at the position will become a key factor in their offseason plans.

“We’re probably one of the top teams in the league already with what we pay running backs,” the younger Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News’ David Moore. “We have to make sure how we pay attention to this and how we spread it out, how we divide up the pie… Obviously, Tony is looking to make more money. So, we have to relook the whole things in terms of running back and what that looks like.”

Meanwhile, tackle Tyron Smith presents another interesting case for Dallas. The 32-year-old has played at an elite level when healthy, but he has missed 33 contests over the past three campaigns. His time in 2022 was limited by a torn hamstring, and he manned the right tackle spot upon his return. That decision came in part due to the absence of starting RT Terence Steelebut also the high-end play of first-round rookie Tyler Smith, drafted to one day succeed his namesake as the Cowboys’ blindside protector.

Tyron Smith has only one non-void year remaining on his contract, but with no guaranteed compensation due his $13.6MM salary could be in jeopardy. Smith also underwent another procedure this offseason (a scope, specifically), Hill tweets. When asked if the eight-time Pro Bowler would be back next season, Stephen Jones said “I have no reason to believe he won’t,” but injury concerns and other financial decisions could change that stance in the near future.

The Cowboys are currently one of 14 teams over the 2023 cap ceiling of $224.8MM. Many moves are soon to come as a result, so the futures of Elliott and Smith with their only NFL employer to date will be worth watching.

Tyron Smith Expected To Return In Week 15, Play Right Tackle

TODAY, 1:15pm: Tyron Smith has indeed been activated from injured reserve, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The offensive lineman doesn’t have an injury status for tomorrow’s game.

FRIDAY, 3:00pm: Terence Steele‘s season-ending injury has changed the Cowboys’ plans. Rather than slide Tyron Smith back into the spot at which he earned All-Decade acclaim, the Cowboys are preparing for both their Smith blockers to line up at tackle this week.

Tyler Smith is expected to remain at left tackle, and Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News notes Dallas’ 11-year blindside starter is likely to line up on the right side against the Jaguars on Sunday. The Cowboys are planning to activate Tyron Smith from IR. He has missed the team’s first 13 games because of a torn hamstring.

The Cowboys had planned to move Tyler Smith to left guard, but Steele’s injury looks to have nixed that idea. Rather than moving a rookie off the spot he has played all season, Dallas will ask one of this era’s best left tackles to work at a position he has not played since his 2011 rookie year. Josh Ball replaced Steele in Week 14, and earlier this week, it appeared (via the Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins, on Twitter) the plan would be for Ball and Jason Peters to rotate at right tackle. A more interesting solution appears in the cards.

Dallas has two of the most recent All-Decade team’s left tackles, in Peters and Tyron Smith, but the former has not played on the right side since 2006. Peters has transitioned to guard this season, rotating in as a backup at points prior to his right-edge cameo in Week 14. The 40-year-old blocker represents an unusual swing player, but he replaced Ball on Dallas’ game-winning drive against the Texans.

Mike McCarthy said he tried as many as five O-line combinations Thursday, though the easiest way to not disrupt continuity would be to plug in Tyron Smith and leave the other four spots unchanged. It does represent an interesting ask from the Cowboys, with Smith coming back after a near-four-month absence and being thrown into a new role. Should this not work out, however, the team has some flexibility here.

It would make for quite the interesting footnote in O-line history if two likely Hall of Fame left tackles each played on the right side in the same game. Although it is not known who will start, that could very well happen.