The Dallas Cowboys had their new wave of talent put pen to paper on May 13, including the team’s first-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
Signing rookie deals typically happen without much drama, but it’s always nice for a franchise when deals are being announced as rookie hit the practice field. Fortunately for the Cowboys, that’s how things have shaken out to start.
On Friday, Dallas officially announced that first-round pick and new offensive lineman Tyler Smith had signed his rookie contract. ESPN reporter Todd Archer reported that the deal is worth $13.38 million.
“The Cowboys have signed their first round pick, Tyler Smith, to a four-year deal worth $13.38 million,” Archer wrote on May 13.
The Cowboys reporter also stated that the team signed four of its other draft picks to contracts.
“The Cowboys have signed fifth rounders Matt Waletzko, DaRon Bland, Damone Clark and sixth rounder Damon Harper,” Archer posted.
Coming into Friday, the only player to have signed his rookie contract was fifth-round pick and defensive tackle John Ridgeway.
With the four players listed above and Smith completing their deals, that means all but three players drafted by Dallas have yet to sign: second-round pick Sam Williams, third-round pick Jalen Tolbert and fourth-round pick Jake Ferguson.
There’s no reason to worry yet about the delay on those three uncompleted deals, but the sooner they get done, the better.
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Smith Has First Practice
Coming out of Tulsa, Smith played primarily at the tackle positions for the Golden Hurricanes. However, Dallas boasts a great tackle in Tyron Smith and a good one in Terence Steele, so it’s hard to see either of them on the bench.
So, Smith practicing at guard for his first practice makes sense. Archer reported that Smith wasn’t lining up at tackle at all on Friday, and The Athletic reporter Jon Machota shared Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy’s comments on the 21-year-old’s first day.
“Mike McCarthy on starting rookie OL Tyler Smith out at left guard: ‘I wouldn’t get too caught up on where exactly Tyler is playing … He will work both left guard and left tackle. You can see the twitch is something that jumps out at you. I thought he had a really nice day,'” Machota Tweeted.
McCarthy and Dallas aren’t ruling out Smith at left tackle. However, Smith starting his practice at guard speaks for itself.
Other Cowboys Rookie Getting ‘Mental Reps’
One of the other interesting updates from the first day of the Cowboys’ minicamp was about Damone Clark. As mentioned above, Clark signed his rookie deal on May 13, but he won’t be hitting the practice field in earnest for a while.
Clark had a serious back operation back in March per USA Today, and will be recovering for most of the offseason. Still, Dallas Morning News reporter Michael Gehlken shared a photo and update of Clark from Friday’s practice that detailed how the former LSU Tiger is preparing.
“Cowboys rookie LB Damone Clark (spinal fusion surgery) is still months away from being medically cleared to practice,” Gehlken Tweeted. “But you can learn a lot about him the way he watches position drills. Clark mirrored the footwork and hand-usage techniques he observed. Mental reps.”
While Cowboys fans would prefer one of their new players to be field-ready now, that’s a good sign to hold onto while they wait.