Tyron Smith Sounds Off on Why He Left Cowboys for the Jets

Tyron Smith

Getty Former Cowboys tackle Tyron Smith explains why he left the Cowboys for the Jets.

Tyron Smith isn’t holding back on why he left the Dallas Cowboys.

The former longtime Cowboys left tackle — he was previously the longest-tenured member of the team before signing with the New York Jets this offseason — explained why he left the only NFL team he’s ever played for.

Via the Jets’ Twitter account:

“And for the way things were looking in Dallas, I knew it was most likely going to be the Jets,” Smith said on Thursday, March 21. “Honestly, I got excited for a new chapter in my life.”

Cowboys Have Been Inactive During 2024 Free Agency Period

The Cowboys’ inactivity in free agency has been a point of discussion. They’ve only signed one outside free agent in linebacker Eric Kendricks and they’ve allowed multiple key veterans to leave through free agency including: Tony Pollard, Dorance Armstrong, Tyler Biadasz, Dante Fowler, Leighton Vander Esch, Neville Gallimore, Johnathan Hankins, Michael Gallup and Smith himself.

Dallas — who had previously committed to the idea of an all-in approach — has been anything but “all-in” during this free agency period. Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones defended the team’s free agency approach in recent comments made.

“We are going to stick with what we believe will ultimately get us a championship for our fans,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. “We don’t define all-in by what you spend in free agency. It’s keeping the core [together].”

Tyron Smith Explains Why He Signed With Jets

Smith — who was the No. 9 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft — further explained why he left the Cowboys despite turning in his fifth All-Pro season in 2023.

“I saw that, what they [the Jets] can do as far as the team, and everyone wants to win as any team does,” Smith said. “I just feel like they have all the pieces together right now with the final pieces this offseason to produce a team that could go all the way. I played against Aaron [Rodgers] throughout my career a couple times [in the postseason]. I know what kind of quarterback he is. I know what he can do if you just give him a little bit of time. I’m just here to do my best to give him that time.”

Although he’s one of the older players in the league, Smith turned in one of the best seasons of his career in 2023. According to Pro Football Focus, Smith posted an 83.8 offensive grade and 88.6 pass-blocking grade during the 2023 season. His pass-blocking grade led all full-time tackles in 2023. He allowed just one sack in 840 snaps for a 98.1 efficiency rating. His efficiency rating was the third-highest in a single season during his career.

Furthermore, he showed some durability for the first time in years. Smith played in 13 games after missing 33 games over the prior three seasons.

Smith — who will turn 34 years old during the 2024 season — signed a one-year deal with $6.5 million guaranteed and $13.5 million total if incentives are reached.

“It speaks for what’s been happening for the past couple of years,” Smith said, per Rich Cimini of ESPN, of his deal. “Honestly, I think it’s a fair deal.”

Smith is slotted to protect Aaron Rodgers — who suffered a torn Achilles in the season opener last year — as the Jets look to establish themselves as playoff contenders.

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