Yesterday saw the Dallas Cowboys tie down left tackle Tyron Smith to a mammoth deal. An eight year contract worth $109 million secures the Pro Bowler for the foreseeable future. Yes the deal is for mega bucks, but Smith is arguably the best tackle in the game and he’s still only 23. The staff, fans and more importantly Smith seem delighted with the deal. Costa Sports Marketing released a statement from Smith.
"“Late last week, the Cowboys approached me with a deal I told my agents I wanted to sign. My agents explained the pros and cons of this deal versus one that may be shorter term and/or higher guarantee. After careful consideration, I decided this long term deal was exactly what I wanted. Over the past three years, the Cowboys organization and Jones Family have helped me through trying times and I felt this was my opportunity to return the gratitude. I am beyond grateful for the Cowboys staff, my team mates, and the fans, and wanted to ensure I was locked in as a “Cowboy for Life”. I want to thank everyone for their support and look forward to having a star on my helmet for the remainder of my career.”"
Smith could have set his agents to work in negotiating a more financially rewarding deal. This contract won’t reflect any fluctuation in the going rate for top end tackles. The fact Smith signed the contract anyway reflects just what the team means to him. After a nasty family related battle in 2012, Jerry Jones stepped in to protect Smith. Smith’s gratitude towards Jones and co is admirable and often absent in today’s money first media driven attitude.
Whilst injuries continue to wreak havoc throughout the Cowboys defense, the o-line has held firm. Smith epitomizes everything about head coach Jason Garrett‘s ‘right kind of guy’ approach. Smith isn’t flashy or a media seeking junkie. He’s a hard working, fully committed player. Garrett indicates that building a team around Smith was in the Cowboys plans all along.
"“He’s just been everything we’ve wanted to build this program and this team around. He was really a young player, who we put in really on minute one of day one and he’s everything that we thought he would be, both physically, intangibly and just as a person. His work ethic is fantastic. His mental and physical toughness are as good as I’ve been around. He just continues to grow and develop as a player. Technically he’s getting better. He’s getting bigger and stronger. And he’s just tough, competitive. He’s what you want on your football team at a really, really important position.”"
Debates rage across the internet, bars and in any football loving homes over the problems at the Dallas Cowboys.
- Jason Garrett isn’t a good enough coach.
- Jerry Jones is too interfering.
- Tony Romo is a choker.
- They shouldn’t have released DeMarcus Ware.
- They don’t run the ball.
- The defense sucks.
- The teams too old.
- They’re too inexperienced
That’s to name but a few. However the potential of this offensive line is probably the only thing that doesn’t get scoffed at. Three of the Cowboys previous four first round draft picks have been for the o-line. And perhaps even more surprising is that prior to Smith, only three other o-line players had ever been drafted in the first round by the Cowboys!
Missing just one game since arriving in Dallas, it’s difficult to argue against Smith as the best tackle in the league. He’s athletic, strong, tough and his technique has improved ten fold since switching to cover quarterback Tony Romo’s blind side. He allowed just one sack from over 1000 attempts in 16 games throughout last season. And yes I’ve mentioned this before, but- he is still only 23!
The Cowboys have one of the brightest young things in the game secured for ten years. Smith and probably Frederick and Martin will protect Romo for as long as he remains at quarterback for this team. But when the time comes and the Cowboys bite the bullet in drafting a young rookie quarterback, look at the protection they’ll be offering him. The rebuilding process under Garrett is a slog indeed, but there’s a long way to go. Three years until the Cowboys have a worthy defensive line? Does Garrett even last that long? Who knows. But for now we can depend on Smith. Now where’s that cotton wool?