The Dallas Cowboys reportedly made a significant move with Tyron Smith on Saturday, restructuring the contract of the perennial All-Pro left tackle. Per ESPN’s Field Yates, the team converted $8.9 million of Smith’s 2020 base salary into a signing bonus, freeing roughly $6.6 million of immediate salary cap room.
But there are no immediate plans to spend the newfound cash.
The Dallas Morning News’ David Moore reports the Cowboys’ plan is to “roll space into next season” rather than prioritize “in-season management,” as Yates alluded. The team never says never when it comes to intriguing free agents — ask Everson Griffen — though they appear deadset on squirreling away the carryover money.
When quarterback Dak Prescott again is up to bat for a long-term, perhaps record-setting windfall. Every penny counts toward Prescott, who will garner at least $37.7 million (cost of 2021 franchise tag) or in excess of $40 million annually on a multi-year pact.
Sports Illustrated’s Mike Fisher confirmed the front office is “kicking the can” with No. 4 in mind.
There can be speculation about what the Cowboys could do with the money before it’s needed for Prescott, who of course is playing on the $31.409 million tag this year, will cost $37.7 million to tag next year, and is the target of the Cowboys in terms of a long-team deal.
So the converting of $8.9 million of base salary into signing bonus (as noted by NFL Network) can be construed as offering some faith in the career of Tyron Smith. And it can be a in-case-of-emergency weapon now. But most of all, it’s for Dak Prescott … to the Dallas Cowboys a very justifiable reason to “kick a little can.”
The Cowboys entered Saturday with only $5.95 million in remaining cap funds, according to Spotrac.com. This, after inking Griffen to a one-year, $6 million contract, half of which is tied to incentives.
Potential, non-Prescott extension candidates include starting cornerbacks Jourdan Lewis and Chidobe Awuzie, safety Xavier Woods, center Joe Looney, and edge rusher Aldon Smith — all of whom are scheduled for unrestricted free agency next March.
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Dak States Case to Remain Cowboy ‘For Rest of My Career’
Prescott and Dallas failed to strike a deal by the July 15 deadline. Months of haggling ultimately “forced” the former Pro Bowler into playing the upcoming campaign on his fully-guaranteed $31.4 million franchise tag. No hard feelings. No bad blood. Water under the bridge.
Made available to the media for the first time since January, Dak reiterated his commitment to the organization despite being unsigned beyond the upcoming campaign.
“Business is business, and once I’m in the locker room and part of what’s going on now, I don’t focus too much about the future,” Prescott said on Aug. 12, via Pro Football Talk. “It’s more about today. So with that being said, I’m excited to be a Dallas Cowboy. I’ve been a fan of this organization. I’ve been a fan of this program for years. I love every bit of the opportunity and the platform that I get to be the quarterback here. I love this team. I’m excited about what we can do and accomplish this year. No frustration as far as that. Once again, I believe something will get done, and I also believe I’ll be a Dallas Cowboy for the rest of my career.”
Prescott, who claimed after the deadline passed that he “couldn’t be happier” to remain in Dallas, conceded “there are reasons probably [a deal] didn’t get done from both sides.” The COVID-19 pandemic, which presented the league with unprecedented financial hurdles, was one of those reasons, owner Jerry Jones admitted.
“Frankly, we all know that what we were talking about in Dak’s case is the next year and the next year and the next year and the next year,” Jones said, via PFT. “So all of that came to bear, and this was just less than stable time to be talking about serious, serious — generational if you will, to use Dak’s term — dollars in an unknown period of time looking forward. That certainly was one of the issues.”
Tyron Injury Update
The stalwart blindside protector prematurely exited Thursday’s practice due to hamstring tightness, a minor issue. He was removed from the field as a precaution.
Smith was spotted at Friday’s practice but did not participate, joining right tackle La’El Collins, who was involved in a car accident Thursday, off to the side. With reserve tackle Cam Erving also missing from team drills, the first-string offensive line devolved into a mish-mash of unknowns.
“The coaching staff tried a multitude of different alignments, and at least six players got a chance to try some reps at tackle as a result,” the Cowboys’ official website reported.
Neither Smith nor Collins are in danger of sitting out the Sept. 13 regular-season opener against the Los Angeles Rams. The rest of Dallas’ OL — left guard Connor Williams, center Joe Looney, and right guard Zack Martin — remains intact.
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