The Dallas Cowboys just signed offensive tackle Tyron Smith to a huge 10 year, $110 million contract. ESPN reported the signing on Wednesday, which also pays Smith a guaranteed $40 million and a $10 million signing bonus in what is basically an eight-year extension. This contract shatters the Cowboys’ previous contracts for any non-quarterbacks.
The deal proves how interested Jerry Jones is in protecting his franchise quarterback Tony Romo. Ever since Jones purchased the Cowboys, he has never built his offensive line with high NFL draft picks. Even in 1993, when the Cowboys had one of the best offensive lines in NFL history, Erik Williams and Mark Stepnoski were the highest drafted, chosen in the third round, and both Mark Tuinei and Nate Newton were not even drafted.
However, in 2011, the Cowboys drafted Tyron Smith in the first round, the highest ranked offensive lineman in the Jerry Jones era. It changed how Jones looked at the NFL Draft. In 2013, Dallas drafted center Travis Frederick in the first round and this year the Cowboys chose offensive guard Zack Martin in the first round. Suddenly, the weakest point of the Cowboys entire team is now strong and young.
Smith turns 24 this year, and when this monster contract expires he will only be 34, meaning it pays off during the prime of the player’s career. The contract also makes Smith the second highest paid player on the team, behind only Tony Romo. The next highest player, cornerback Brandon Carr, makes $2 million less a season and was for half the time of Smith’s contract.
This move does come with concerns. While Dallas is setting up their offensive line for what might be a bright future, they were already in dire straits when it comes to their cap numbers. The Dallas Cowboys had to let DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher leave this season since they could not afford them. Dez Bryant is a free agent after the season and Dallas will have to pay dearly to keep him. It is a nice move to sign Tyron Smith, but Dallas has to hope it doesn’t cost them in the future.