The Dallas Cowboys starting rotation on the offensive line has already become a highly debated topic among fans and analysts. Prior to Jerry Jones’ firm words about Tyron Smith remaining as left tackle, former Cowboys scout Bryan Broaddus predicted that the veteran will move out of the starting lineup with Terence Steele (right) and Tyler Smith (left) serving as the bookends of the unit.
“I think that they’ve got Tyron Smith’s contract to the point where he is your new version of Jason Peters,” Broaddus said during the March 27, 2023 edition of “Love of the Star” podcast. “…I think that to me, I just don’t see a good reason to not play Tyler Smith anywhere other than left tackle. I just don’t. And I mean nothing against Tyron Smith, Hall of Fame tackle. Him playing right tackle wasn’t as good as Steele playing right tackle last year.”
Smith is entering the final season of an eight-year, $97 million contract and the eight-time Pro Bowler had been a popular name mentioned as a potential cap casualty this offseason. Instead, Dallas and Smith agreed to a restructured deal that keeps the veteran in Dallas for another year.
Tyron Smith’s Revised Contract Is Largely Based on Playing Time Bonuses
According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, Smith’s salary for 2023 has a $3 million base but can be worth as much as $17 million. Smith’s escalating incentives start with $1 million if the former Pro Bowler plays 50% of the snaps and increases in 5% increments.
“Tyron Smith contract breakdown, 1 year, $6m, $17m max Bonus: $3m 2023 base: $3m (guaranteed),” Archer tweeted on March 16. “Play-time: $1m each for 50%, 55%, 60%, 65%, 70%, 75%, 80%, 85% 90%. Incentives (75% + 51% playoff playtime) 1 win – $500k 2 wins – $500k 3 wins – $500k Super Bowl win – $500k.”
105.3 The Fan’s insider Bobby Belt believes Smith’s new deal protects both sides. Smith is rewarded if he is able to keep hold of a starting spot, while the Cowboys pay less money if the veteran once again struggles with injuries.
“You could read it one of two ways,” Belt said of Smith’s revised contract. “You could read it as those escalators are in there to protect the Cowboys if he gets hurt, again. Or, like you’re saying, they could be in there to fairly compensate Tyron if he has to start.”
Jerry Jones Predicts Tyron Smith Will Start Over Terence Steele
Pro Football Focus backs up Broaddus’ assessment that Steele looked like more of a starter than Smith last season. Steele earned a career-high 73.9 grade from PFF for his 13 starts last season. Smith notched a dismal 58.6 score while playing in just four contests, marking the worst PFF grade the star has received during his career.
All the chatter about Steele versus Smith could naturally work itself out as the veteran has missed significant time in seven straight seasons. Smith played in a combined 15 games over the last two years. Steele is recovering from a season-ending ACL injury he sustained in December.
Jones created waves at the annual NFL Owner’s Meetings by emphasizing that Smith is still ahead of Steele on the depth chart. If head coach Mike McCarthy goes in a different direction, it would not be the first time Jones’ predictions did not come true.
“Jerry Jones said the Cowboys are not considering moving Terence Steele to left guard,” Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Clarence Hill Jr. tweeted on March 27. “He says Steeles is too valuable as a swing tackle tandem behind starters Tyler Smith and Tyron Smith tackle.”