Tyron Smith

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.

Cowboys RT Terence Steele Suffers Torn ACL; Latest On Tyron Smith

10:55am: Confirming the team’s worst fears, Steele has suffered a torn ACL (Twitter link via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler). That will end his season, and leave the Cowboys with a significant hole to fill on the right side of their o-line.

9:59am: The Cowboys survived an upset scare versus the Texans on Sunday, but their offensive line lost a starter for what could be an extended stretch. Right tackle Terence Steele suffered what is feared to be serious knee injury, as noted (on Twitter) by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Steele, 25, was assured the full-time right tackle role this offseason when the Cowboys let La’el Collins depart in free agency. The Texas Tech alum had seen plenty of playing time prior to that, of course, but the decision represented a vote of confidence in him. To date, Steele had proven to be worthy of the first-team role, continuing his career progression.

The former UDFA earned an underwhelming PFF grade as a rookie, but took a step forward last year. That continued into 2022, as Steele’s 75.3 rating ranks him in the top 20 in the NFL amongst offensive tackles. Any extended absence would therefore be notable for Dallas and their offense; Rapoport adds that more will be known following Steele’s MRI.

In more positive news for the Cowboys, Tyron Smith could suit up in Week 15 against the Jaguars. The eight-time Pro Bowler returned to practice this past week, opening the team’s three-week window within which they must activate him if he is to play in 2022. Rapoport notes that Smith made sufficient progress during the week that suiting up against Jacksonville is “very possible.” That would provide the team with a significant boost up front, and help offset any absence necessitated by Steele’s injury.

Smith’s return, it is already known, will see him take up his familiar spot as a blindside protector. That will move first-round rookie Tyler Smith inside, giving the team several other options at guard including Connor McGovern and veteran free agent signing Jason Peters. How they respond at the spot opposite Tyron Smith, however, could be worth watching in the latter stages of the regular season.

Cowboys’ Tyron Smith Returns To Practice

The Cowboys will have Tyron Smith back at practice Wednesday, Mike McCarthy said. The previously outlined plan will start the All-Decade tackle’s three-week activation clock.

Smith has not gone through a practice since suffering a torn hamstring — subsequently revealed to be an avulsion fracture — during an August 24 workout. The injury-prone standout underwent surgery and has worked his way back. His 12th-season debut appears imminent, with the Cowboys long identifying December as the window for his comeback.

Because the Cowboys are starting Smith’s IR-return clock now, he must be moved back to their 53-man roster during the regular season. Smith’s injury history does not exactly guarantee he will be back manning his post when first eligible Sunday, but Dallas has been planning on him being back at left tackle soon.

The 2011 first-round pick coming back will lead to Dallas’ 2022 first-round blocker — Tyler Smith — relocating. The younger Smith had been in a left guard battle with Connor McGovern prior to Tyron Smith’s setback. Although the Cowboys signed Jason Peters, they ended up moving Tyler Smith to left tackle and shuttling the nine-time Pro Bowl blindside bastion to guard. The prospect of both Smiths, McGovern and Peters being available would stand to strengthen both the Cowboys’ starting lineup and their depth up front.

Despite being part of the stellar 2011 draft, Tyron Smith is only set to turn 32 next week. He is attached to (by far) the longest-running contract in the NFL — an eight-year, $97.6MM deal agreed to back in 2014 — and is signed through 2023. Somewhat surprisingly, the 6-foot-8 specimen never came back to the table about a contract that paid him in line with the new going rate at his position. When healthy, Smith remains one of the game’s best tackles. He landed his eighth Pro Bowl invite last season, helping the Cowboys back to the playoffs.

Injuries have impacted Smith consistently. He missed 14 games in 2020 due to a neck issue and was out for six games last year. From 2016-19, Smith missed three games in each season. It will be interesting to see if Smith can surmount this hamstring issue and team up with his heir apparent to strengthen the Cowboys’ best team in at least six years. It will also be worth monitoring how Tyler Smith looks at guard. The Tulsa product has only played tackle in college or the pros, having started all 12 Cowboys games at left tackle. Pro Football Focus rates Tyler Smith 51st among tackles this season.

Cowboys WR James Washington Back At Practice; Tyron Smith Nearing Return

DECEMBER 2: McCarthy confirmed the Cowboys’ Smith timeline Friday, indicating the team is hopeful the 12th-year blocker can return to practice next week, The Athletic’s Jon Machota tweets. Smith, 32, suffered the injury August 24. Should Smith show sufficient form in practice, the Cowboys are expected to reinstall him at his left tackle post.

NOVEMBER 30: Two key Cowboys IR moves could commence soon. Wide receiver James Washington returned to practice Wednesday, starting his 21-day activation clock. Tyron Smith‘s DFR transaction does not appear far off.

Mike McCarthy said Smith is close but not yet ready to practice, ESPN.com’s Todd Archer tweets. But the Cowboys are eyeing Week 14 for Smith’s return to work, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com adds. Smith has been out since late August because of a torn hamstring that required surgery.

Smith being designated for return next week would mandate a regular-season activation, as teams have 21 days from the DFR transaction to move a player back onto the 53-man roster. Only one team, the Steelers, has thus far let a player’s IR-return clock expire without an activation this season. But the Cowboys have consistently eyed a late-season Smith return.

[RELATED: PFR Week 13 Injured Reserve Return Tracker]

There will be no position drama when Smith is ready to come back. Jerry Jones put a stop to that recently, indicating during a 105.3 The Fan interview (via Archer, on Twitter) Tyler Smith would move back to guard once Tyron Smith was ready to play. Tyron Smith has been Dallas’ primary left tackle for 11 years. Despite frequent injury trouble, the former first-round pick — an All-Decade performer — has been one of the best in the game when available.

Tyron’s return would inject more optimism into this Cowboys operation, which has been the most promising Dallas squad since 2016. The team can slide Tyler Smith to left guard, and Jones does not anticipate any trouble for the first-round rookie in moving inside. Tyler Smith, however, was not running away with the guard competition against Connor McGovern during their training camp battle. Tyron Smith’s injury changed the team’s plans, and the Tulsa product has started every game back at his college position with Dallas.

The Cowboys have considerable insurance at left tackle, with Jason Peters also in the fold. Peters has since moved to guard but has not seen too much action in his age-40 season. He has been used as a sub and has gone through some games without seeing any time. Mostly recently, Peters did play 20 snaps against the Vikings. McGovern has been the Cowboys’ primary left guard starter. Still, Peters and Tyron Smith have a combined 17 Pro Bowls on their resume. Adding in Zack Martin‘s seven, the Cowboys have one of the most accomplished O-line contingents in modern NFL history. Tyron Smith’s return represents the final piece to the puzzle.

Circling back to Washington, he has missed the season because of a Jones fracture. The training camp foot injury forced Dallas to deploy an inexperienced set of CeeDee Lamb receiver complements early this season, but the team might have a veteran-laden group when Washington returns. The Cowboys have seen Michael Gallup begin to show his pre-injury form, and they are the frontrunners to sign Odell Beckham Jr. The high-profile free agent is set to visit Monday.

Signed to one-year deal worth the league minimum, Washington is no stranger to seeing his role reduced. The Steelers moved Chase Claypool ahead of him previously and did not re-sign him in free agency. Washington has not cleared 400 receiving yards in a season since 2019, when he worked mostly with college teammate Mason Rudolph. Given the Cowboys’ receiver situation and Washington’s injury hiatus, he likely will go a third straight season without 400 yards. But the fifth-year veteran could still be a valuable backup for Dallas.

Injury Updates: Cowboys, Vikings, Steelers, Seahawks

Ezekiel Elliott is expected back this weekend. After the star running back missed Week 8, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that he expects Elliott to be back on the field against the Packers on Sunday, per Jon Machota of The Athletic (on Twitter). Meanwhile, Elliott himself told Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that his knee is getting better and the swelling has decreased (Twitter link). If the RB does return this weekend, he acknowledged that he’ll wear a knee brace.

Elliott has started each of his seven appearances this season. While his 63.3 rushing yards per game is about on-par with his recent performance, his yards-per-touch is currently a career-low mark (4.1). Backup Tony Pollard showed up when he earned an opportunity to start prior to the bye, finishing with 131 rushing yards on 14 carries. Despite the numbers, Jones made it clear that he’s sticking with Elliott atop the depth chart.

“There’s no argument,” Jones recently said of replacing Elliott as the starting RB. “Zeke’s ability to punish, Zeke’s ability to deliver, Zeke’s ability, what he does for us in pass protection, and, frankly, Zeke’s ability to make big plays are there, and we’re going to go as Zeke goes. I really mean he’s that integral to our success this year.”

Some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • Meanwhile, Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith is about two or three weeks away from returning to practice, Stephen Jones recently said (via Calvin Watkins of the Dallas News on Twitter). If Smith requires his entire three-week window to get back into game shape, then the lineman could be eyeing a late-December return. The veteran offensive lineman suffered a hamstring injury during training camp that’s sidelined him for the first chunk of the season.
  • While Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. landed on injured reserve earlier this month thanks to an ankle issue, the injury likely won’t require surgery, coach Kevin O’Connell said (via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Twitter). Smith Jr. hasn’t started a game yet this season but has put up his standard numbers, hauling in 22 catches for 168 yards and two touchdowns through seven games.
  • Damontae Kazee is expected to be activated off IR this week, and the Steelers safety provided some information on the injury that’s knocked him out for the first few months of the season. In addition to breaking his whole forearm, Kazee also suffered a dislocated wrist that “popped back into place during surgery,” per ESPN’s Brooke Pryor on Twitter. When he next takes the field, he’ll be armed with a padded brace to protect his arm. Kazee joined the Steelers this past offseason after starting 15 games for the Cowboys in 2021. Coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged how much veterans like Kazee and trade-deadline acquisition William Jackson III will help the defense. “Anytime you get veteran presences, it is an asset to you,” Tomlin said (via Mark Kaboly of The Athletic). “Been-there, done-that guys, and those guys are that.”
  • Seahawks linebacker/special teams ace Cullen Gillaspia injured his knee on Sunday and will need surgery, according to ESPN’s Brady Henderson (on Twitter). Fortunately, the injury isn’t as bad as initially feared, but Gillaspia is still expected to be sidelined for some time. The former seventh-round pick joined the Seahawks practice squad back in September, but he’s since appeared in six games while playing the majority of Seattle’s special teams snaps.

Cowboys Expect Tyron Smith To Make Late-Season Return

Tyron Smith continues to rehab from the avulsion fracture he suffered just before the season. The Cowboys have turned to his planned successor at left tackle, Tyler Smith, but they have not closed the door on the All-Pro returning this season.

Jerry Jones, in fact, expects to see “a lot” of Tyron Smith before the season ends. Jones said during a 105.3 The Fan appearance (via DallasCowboys.com) he anticipates the 12th-year veteran returning closer to the end of the year. Of course, any 2022 Smith contributions would be a bonus for a Cowboys team that lost its injury-prone left tackle to a second severe malady in three years.

Tyron Smith went down during an Aug. 24 practice. Initially reported as a hamstring tear, Smith’s injury was more serious. Smith’s Sept. 2 surgery reattached the torn tendon to his left knee. While Mekhi Becton‘s avulsion fracture — sustained weeks earlier than Smith’s — will keep the Jets left tackle out for the year, the 6-foot-8 Dallas blindside bastion’s situation reminds no two injuries are equal.

The prospect of a Tyron Smith return will inject some O-line configuration uncertainty into the equation for the Cowboys, who have used Tyler Smith at tackle in every snap this season. Pro Football Focus has charged Tyler with three sacks allowed and ranks the first-round rookie in the lower half at the position (55th). The advanced metrics site has viewed right tackle Terence Steele as the better blocker thus far, assigning him a top-20 grade among tackles. The Cowboys locked in Steele at right tackle this offseason, planning to use Tyler Smith at left guard.

Tyron was an All-Decade tackle in the 2010s and was one of the drivers of the Cowboys collecting three rushing titles in five seasons (2014-18). It would surprise if he was cleared to return and did not reclaim his job. Although Smith has not cleared the 13-game barrier since the 2015 season, he has been one of this era’s best tackles. After a neck injury cost him 14 games in 2020, Smith bounced back and received his eighth Pro Bowl nod. The 2011 first-round pick will almost certainly be ticketed for the Hall of Fame at some point.

Dallas has another likely Hall of Famer on its front, helping provide insurance. Jason Peters has not seen any action on offense since Week 4. He has played 35 snaps this season, missing the first two games because of a planned ramp-up period — due to his arrival in the wake of Tyron Smith’s injury — and missing Week 5 because of a chest injury. Peters has not worked as a starter, rotating in at left guard. Connor McGovern has played the bulk of the snaps at the position over the past two weeks. Albeit on just 166 snaps, PFF rates McGovern as the league’s second-worst full-time guard. The presences of Peters and Tyron Smith, and Tyler Smith’s offseason of guard work, stand to give Dallas intriguing options come December or so.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/1/22

Teams continue to tinker with their rosters after hundreds of players were cut earlier this week. We’ve tracked all of today’s minor moves below:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Injury Updates: Giants, Leonard, Smith, Rivers, Sharpe

In a sequence of events that no one ever wants to see, the Giants had four players leave their final preseason game this Sunday with injuries. Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor was carted off the field after a vicious hit to the chest by Jets pass rusher Micheal Clemons. New York also saw three players leave the game with concussions, but only one of them made the final roster: tight end Daniel Bellinger.

Head coach Brian Daboll has insisted that Taylor’s back injury is not serious, according to Darryl Slater of NJ.com. This is great news for Giants fans who may have worries that starting quarterback Daniel Jones will continue his trend of not being able to appear in every regular season game the Giants play. Since being drafted in 2019, Jones has missed at least two games each year, sitting out of six contests over the past year alone.

The Bellinger-concussion is significant as the fourth-round rookie out of San Diego State is currently set to start at tight end for New York with Ricky Seals-Jones on injured reserve to start the year. Going into the season as a rookie starter, Bellinger needs all the practice he can get before the season opener in Nashville.

Here are a couple other injury updates from around the league, starting with some good news from the Hoosier State:

  • The Colts are thrilled to get star linebacker Shaquille Leonard back in practice after the three-time first-team All-Pro missed the entirety of training camp, according to Nick Shook of NFL Network. Indianapolis activated Leonard just before it would be forced to commit him to the reserve/physically unable to perform list to start the season. This means he won’t be forced to miss the first four games of the year after offseason back surgery, but it doesn’t rule out that he still might. General manager Chris Ballard told James Boyd of The Athletic, “I can’t give you a timeline. Maybe Week 1, maybe Week 6. We’ll work and we’ll deal with it however we gotta deal with it.”
  • The Ty Smith that will start at left tackle for the Cowboys against the Buccaneers on September 11 may not be the one Dallas’s fans were hoping for. First-round pick Tyler Smith is being forced out at tackle with incumbent starter Tyron Smith on injured reserve. The latter Smith is set to undergo surgery this Friday that will “reattach a torn hamstring tendon to his left knee,” according to Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News. The “uncommon sports injury” will likely hold the 31-year-old out until at least December.
  • Texans defensive end Derek Rivers will start the season on injured reserve after suffering a torn biceps tendon this week, according to Mark Berman of FOX Houston. Rivers earned his first career start with the Texans last year, tallying one sack on the year for Houston. The elbow injury is expected to keep Rivers out for up to three months.
  • Offseason free agent addition for the Bears wide receiver Tajae Sharpe will miss the entire 2022 season with a rib injury, according to Adam Jahns of The Athletic. The length of the absence was confirmed by head coach Matt Eberflus.

Cowboys Place LT Tyron Smith, WR James Washington On IR

For players who are currently injured, but are expected to be available at some point during the season, teams are required to name them to their initial 53-man rosters before placing them on injured reserve. A team announcement confirmed on Wednesday that the Cowboys have done just that with left tackle Tyron Smith and wideout James Washington

Neither move comes as a surprise, of course. Smith suffered a hamstring tear in practice last week, and faces a long road to recovery. The required surgery is expected to keep him sidelined until at least December, an absence which will be widely felt in Dallas’ offense. The 2010s All-Decade member has been a mainstay on the Cowboys’ o-line since 2011, and internal replacement options are highly lacking in experience.

That list includes first-round rookie Tyler Smith – though the team’s intention was to bring him along slowly, and at guard to begin his NFL career. Remarks from coach Mike McCarthy confirm that, out of necessity, that plan has changed (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Jon Machota). Swing tackle Josh Ball could also fill in as a blindside protector, but the Cowboys have widely been reported as being active in search of outside options. That most recently included an attempt to trade for former Jet Chuma Edoga, but the deal fell through.

Washington, meanwhile, is partway through the recovery process from surgery to repair a foot fracture suffered at the beginning of the month. The timeline (ranging from six to 10 weeks) made him a logical IR candidate to begin the regular season. His absence will compound that of Michael Gallup, who is recovering from an ACL tear. Washington’s production fell off in Pittsburgh, but the lack of established options aside from Gallup (when healthy) and CeeDee Lamb should leave him with a path to significant snaps.

At some point, both Smith and Washington should return, which would inevitably give the Cowboys’ offense a boost. With the roster spots made open by the move, Dallas brought back long snapper Jake McQuaide and defensive back C.J. Goodwin after their temporary releases yesterday.

Cowboys Unlikely To Trade For Left Tackle?

The Cowboys have very limited time to find a Tyron Smith replacement, but a few avenues by which they could acquire one. Their financial situation could make a trade viable on paper, though it appears the team will look elsewhere while evaluating their options. 

Smith is expected to be sidelined until at least December due to an avulsion fracture of the knee and subsequent hamstring tear. Dallas doesn’t have a replacement on hand with anywhere near the pedigree of the eight-time Pro Bowler, of course, but promoting from within remains an immediate solution. Playing first-round rookie Tyler Smith at left tackle – his college position – is a possibility, though he was thought to be a guard candidate early in his career. Fellow rookie Matt Waletzko and 2021 fourth-rounder Josh Ball could also step in on the blindside.

Indeed, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson reports that the Cowboys are turning to the aforementioned “in-house players” while also “working through” potential free agent additions (Twitter link). That is in line with reporting from yesterday indicating that a signing could be coming soon. A number of veterans remain on the open market, including Super Bowl champion Andrew Whitworth; Anderson adds, however, that the retired 40-year-old is not among Dallas’ considerations.

Adding further to the sense that the Cowboys will not be executing a trade for a stop-gap solution, Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network tweets that the Texans are not expected to make Laremy Tunsil available to Dallas (or any other club). The two-time Pro Bowler has two years remaining on his contract, including a $17.7MM cap hit the Cowboys could absorb given their current financial situation. Beside his talent level, Wilson cites the dead cap charge (over 16.6MM) which would be generated by a trade as the reason such a move is unlikely on Houston’s end.

With final roster cuts just days away, more options could surface for the Cowboys to consider. A recent release, or an aging veteran still available remains the likeliest way the team augments its unproven stable of incumbents.