Tyron Smith's contract details with Jets prove the Cowboys blew it

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Dallas Cowboys v Buffalo Bills / Rich Barnes/GettyImages

Well, so much for the Dallas Cowboys rebounding in free agency. The signing of linebacker Eric Kendricks and re-signing of cornerback Jourdan Lewis put lipstick on a dismal start to the roster-churning frenzy, but the positivity was short-lived after left tackle Tyron Smith secured a one-year deal from the Jets.

News of Smith's departure was met with ire from Cowboys fans, and understandably so. Allowing Smith to walk out the door after his healthiest season since 2019 and after a banner season protecting Dak Prescott's blindside is a questionable decision even with Smith's health concerns.

Having said that, Smith's contract would do a lot in terms of adding perspective to whether the Cowboys bungled his free agency. Initial reports revealed Smith's deal with the Jets had a max value of $20 million with incentives. That made it easier to stomach his departure, but the particulars of the contract have been leaked and they are absolutely nauseating.

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Smith will make $6.5 million guaranteed in 2024 with $13.5 million in playing time and other incentives. Florio added that the Jets were "very surprised" that Smith accepted their offer.

Tyron Smith's contract details with Jets prove the Cowboys blew it

You mean to tell us the Cowboys couldn't commit $6.5 million to retain Smith? In terms of guaranteed salary, right tackle Terence Steele has $7.25 million in guarantees coming his way in 2024. Steele was one of the worst RTs in the league last season. Meanwhile, safety Donovan Wilson will pocket $5.5 million in guaranteed money and third-string quarterback Trey Lance, who wasn't active for a single game in 2023, will cash $5.31 million in guarantees.

Don't allow yourself to be swayed by the $20 million max value. That's contingent on Smith staying healthy, which is always a question mark, and hitting other playing incentives. It's a bargain of a contract, especially when you consider that multiple free agent guards got $20 million per year on the market.

It's not like the Cowboys have a succession plan lined up, either. Hoping their preferred tackle prospect falls to them at pick No. 24 overall is a roll of the dice. Moving Tyler Smith out wide after an All-Pro season at left guard would be another risky move. Even if they planned on taking a tackle all along, retaining Smith was well within Dallas' purview. They just chose not to do it.

Say what you will about Smith's injury history and the NFL being a business, but he gave the organization 13 excellent years. He was always willing to rework his contract and never caused an off-field distraction that have become all-too commonplace with this franchise. And $6.5 million still wasn't enough.

It's a terrible look all-around.

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