Did I get your attention? It’s true; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is actually being responsible with his money. Yes, the same Jerry Jones that wasted huge money on the likes of Roy Williams (6 yrs., $54 million), Marion Barber (7 yrs., $45 million) and Ken Hamlin (6 yrs., $39 million) may have learned when and where to spend his Benjamin’s. Or maybe not, it’s hard to tell with him sometimes. But what we can tell is he made a huge investment on a player that was well deserving of it and did not break the bank in the process.
News broke on Wednesday that starting left tackle Tyron Smith and the Dallas Cowboys agreed on an eight-year, $98-million contract. Here’s what Chris Wesseling of NFL.com, who is actually quoting Ian Rapoport from the NFL Network had to say:
"Since Smith had two years left on his rookie deal, he’s now tethered to Dallas for the next 10 years at $109 million overall, a source tells Rapoport. Smith got a $10 million signing bonus and $40 million guaranteed."
This is a big deal, not only for Smith, but for the team and fan base. A shut-down, blind-side protector like Smith is hard to come by, and considering the Cowboys’ quarterback, Tony Romo, has his best games when he can stay in the pocket and pick defenses apart, he’s probably not complaining about locking down his protector for well beyond his career. The fans can also be excited because Romo and whoever is his successor will be playing with one of the best left tackles in the entire league for quite a while.
The first thing that may have popped into your head when you saw these numbers was, “How could they spend so much money on one position, and commit to him for such a long period of time when there are other players on the team that need extensions – either now or down the line?” It’s very simple if you look at it. One, you don’t find a talent like Smith too often, who has excelled in the league, has experience, and is still only 23 years old. Second, his deal isn’t as huge as the numbers look. Sure the contract is the priciest one Dallas has ever signed a non-quarterback to, but the way the deal is structured it won’t hamper the team financially as much as you would expect. Here’s what David Helman of dallascowboys.com pointed out regarding the deal:
"As Stephen Jones said Wednesday, Smith won’t be any more expensive than $13.5 million at any point of his deal, and when you remember the increases in the salary cap and the potential for restructures, that’s not all that much money. I think you also need to keep in mind that other contracts will be coming off the books in that timespan. By the time Zack Martin comes up for renewal, guys like Jason Witten and Brandon Carr might not be members of this team any more – who can say? It all depends. But the length of Smith’s deal should give them some valuable flexibility in future salary cap dealings."
These are all great things to keep in mind when you look at the numbers the media reports. Smith’s deal is spread out, and as long as Jerry and Co. don’t get themselves in contract hot water too often and have to restructure Smith’s deal multiple times, then the numbers are totally payable for a player of Smith’s caliber.
For those of you that are crying foul because Smith got a huge payday before Dez Bryant (who’s still playing on his rookie deal) don’t fret too much. The Cowboys are well aware of the need to lock Bryant up, and from what Stephen Jones, Cowboys’ VP and director of player personnel is telling everyone, it’s only a matter of time. Patience is a virtue my friends.