Cowboys creative Tyron Smith contract looks genius after new injury

Dallas Cowboys v Buffalo Bills
Dallas Cowboys v Buffalo Bills / Rich Barnes/GettyImages

Dallas Cowboys fans have to be pleasantly surprised with Tyron Smith this season. While Smith has missed a couple more games, his health has improved substantially compared to recent years. With that, Smith has proven he's still one of the best left tackles in the game.

After an impressive seven straight games in the starting lineup, Smith missed Sunday's battle against the Dolphins with a back injury. He suffered the injury last week against Buffalo and hadn't practiced all week.

With the Cowboys only needing to win two of their last three games to clinch the NFC East -- with another Eagles loss sprinkled in to seal the deal -- it makes sense Dallas exercised caution with their oft-injured left tackle.

Unfortunately, Smith's new injury will dent his wallet. Having signed an incentive-laden contract before the season after he missed 13 games last year, the 33-year-old runs the risk of losing a chunk of his $9 million in playing time incentives.

The Cowboys look like geniuses right about now.

Cowboys' Tyron Smith contract looks genius after LT's new injury.

By missing his fourth game of the campaign, Smith is trending toward playing less than 75% of the snaps. If Smith misses one more game, his incentives would plummet to $5 million. That number drops to $4 million if he misses two more games. If he misses a third game, his incentives would sit at a lowly $3 million.

That would be a tough blow, though Mike McCarthy doesn't believe Smith's back injury will cause a multi-week absence. Still, we'd take those words with a grain of salt given Smith's injury history. Even with limiting the veteran's practice reps during the week, he's still managing to pick up knocks here and there.

That should be the expectation with Smith at this point in his career. From 2020-22, he played 17 of a possible 49 games. He hasn't logged a full season in almost 10 years. You have to go all the way back to 2015 -- when Tony Romo was still the Cowboys' starting quarterback -- for the last time Smith played a full schedule.

We'd hate to see Smith lose incentives. The Cowboys are obviously better off if he's protecting Dak Prescott's blindside.

All that said, the front office should take a well-earned victory lap. Smith's current contract gives Jerry Jones and Co. an ideal baseline for how to negotiate Smith's next contract, assuming they want him back after the season.

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