To cut or not to cut: Which Cowboys have played their last snap?
A disappointing season for the Dallas Cowboys means roster changes are coming
Can someone help me out? I’m 22 years old and have yet to watch my Dallas Cowboys have any real success. The last year of legitimate success for the team was the 1996 Super Bowl-winning team. We have witnessed yet another season of the Cowboys being Super Bowl competitors but failing to get past the Divisional Round. That doesn’t even include the fact that they didn’t even get past the Wild Card Round this year.
Changes are needed and cuts need to be made to help with cap space anyway. With head coach Mike McCarthy and all three coordinators returning, the change will be on the roster sheet. Similar to the past few seasons, these will not be easy decisions to make.
Heading into the 2022 season, Dallas is severely over the designated amount of cap space. That means owner Jerry Jones needs to cut some players from the roster or restructure some contracts. Dak Prescott and Zack Martin have already agreed to contract restructures, so the question then becomes, who will the Cowboys cut? Here are five players the front office should consider.
I’m starting this list with a controversial one. It’s also an option that I have yet to hear anyone bring up, but you can argue for or against it. Should the Cowboys cut ties with longtime left tackle Tyron Smith?
Since being drafted with the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Smith has enjoyed a Hall of Fame-level career. His eight Pro Bowls, two First-Team All-Pro nods, and spot on the 2010’s All-Decade Team all support that. He has been one of the best left tackles since entering the league.
Having a reliable left tackle is crucial to running a successful offense. Smith has been that and more during his tenure in Dallas. While you can’t dispute his impact on the field, his health and injury issues are a consistent issue for Smith.
The monster of a tackle hasn’t played a season from start to finish since 2015. Since then, injuries cost the USC product 32 games including 20 in the past two years. With a cap hit of $17.5 million, the Cowboys might not be able to afford to pay for his rehab.
The 2023 season is his last under contract. If the veteran gets cut before June 1st, the team will save $5.5 million.
While the financial relief is tempting, in my opinion, it is too difficult to replace Smith. In the six games he missed this season, it was clear that there was no definite replacement. Cutting Smith would leave the team far too vulnerable. Being down six games is better than being down 17.
The best bet for Smith is to try and restructure his contract for 2022. While it would be nice to save capital, cutting Smith is too much of a risk.