The Dallas Cowboys have been relatively quiet in the 2022 offseason, but the team as hinted that they could still be in the trade and free agency markets.
Talk about changing the roster is cheap, but after a spring that featured several blockbuster trades, it’s definitely not out of the question. Now, Bleacher Report analyst Alex Ballentine is proposing a trade that involves eight-time Pro Bowler and starting tackle Tyron Smith.
Smith is the longest-tenured Cowboys player, first joining the team in the 2011 NFL draft. However, Ballentine says that the legendary offensive lineman is in prime trade position due to his contract and age.
“Tyron Smith has been an excellent leader and player for the Cowboys, but if they are ever going to deal him, then now is the time to do it,” Ballentine wrote. “The 31-year-old has been named to the Pro Bowl in eight of the last nine seasons, but he’s played in 13 games or less in each of those seasons. Given his extensive history of getting banged up, it’s fair to wonder how he’ll age as he gets into his 30s.”
It’s a fair point, but is it really worth jeopardizing the offensive line’s stability?
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Cowboys Draft Potential Replacement
With the selection of tackle Tyler Smith at the No. 24 overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, it seems like Dallas may have picked up Tyron Smith’s future replacement. It’s certainly possible, but the rookie out of Tulsa has been seeing more work at guard in his first practices in Dallas.
As Heavy has covered, Tyler Smith is a fairly raw prospect. Athletically impressive, but raw and was not considered a “starter-ready” player coming into the draft. The Cowboys may be seeing otherwise, but it’s hard to imagine he has made such a distinct jump that Dallas would trade Tyron Smith.
Really, the pros for trading the Cowboys’ veteran tackle are the injuries and his cost. Tyron Smith hasn’t played a full season since 2015 and has only played 13 games in the past two seasons, per PFR.
Meanwhile, Smith is due $13.5 million in 2022 and $13.6 million in 2023 according to Spotrac. Dallas trading the tackle this offseason would save them a sizable amount of the money, although they are locked in on $12 million in dead cap through 2024 due to a contract restructuring.
If Dallas has other plans to add in free agency or otherwise, freeing up that money could go a long way.
Possible Destination for Smith
Eight-time Pro Bowl tackles are hard to come by, so there’d likely be a considerable amount of interest if Dallas puts Smith on the trade block. But one team that needs a tackle and stands out is the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Chargers drafted top guard prospect Zion Johnson in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, but elected not to address their right tackle position. While Rashawn Slater is a revelation at left tackle for LA, Storm Norton started 15 games last year and is back at the position, but the fourth-year veteran hardly has the pedigree that Smith has.
In terms of a fair trade return, the Cowboys would likely look for draft picks. The Cowboys have places they can upgrade the roster, but Los Angeles’ roster doesn’t exactly set up for that.