3 Cowboys contracts we were happy to see end, 2 we’re eager to see expire

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Cowboys contract we're eager to see expire: Tyron Smith, OT

When Dallas used the No. 9 overall pick on Tyron Smith in the 2011 NFL Draft, it signaled a major change in philosophy. Not since purchasing the team in 1989 had Jerry Jones used a first-round pick on an offensive lineman, so Smith was the start of a new trend as they ended up using Round 1 picks on Travis Frederick (2013), Zack Martin (2014), and now Tyler Smith (2022).

Tyron Smith spent his rookie season at right tackle while Doug Free played on the left side. Then in 2012, he moved to the blindside and has been one of the best in the game — when healthy.

The problem is, he hasn't been healthy much at all. Smith missed three games in every season from 2016 through 2019 and they struggled mightily to replace him. Then, things got really bad as he missed 14 games in 2020, six in 2021, and 13 last season.

That means in all, he's missed 45 games over the past seven seasons — which is nearly three years of missed time.

Despite this, the Cowboys seem ready to roll Smith back out in 2023 and have the awful plan to move him to right tackle and sit Terence Steele. The issue here is that Smith wasn't as good on the right side last year when he returned from injury as Steele was. Plus, Steele was their highest-graded lineman overall in 2022, even ahead of Zack Martin.

That's why fans will be happy to see Smith's contract expire next season. Hopefully, they won't have damaged their relationship with Steele by then and can re-sign him to hold things down on the right side going forward.