Tyron Smith leaves Cowboys fans cryptic message in heartbreaking goodbye post

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Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

For every step forward the Dallas Cowboys have made in free agency (signing Eric Kendricks, re-signing Jourdan Lewis, promoting Al Harris), they've taken two steps back. When news broke that Tyron Smith agreed to sign with the New York Jets, it felt like it ruined all the progress the Cowboys made.

Letting Smith leave wasn't overly surprising, but fans hoped the future Hall of Famer would find his way back to Dallas after testing the free agent market. Reports indicated the Cowboys were still open to signing Smith after the two sides met before the legal tampering period to discuss a new contract.

Fans are obviously rooting for Smith to crush it in New York and even hit the $20 million maximum value on his new contract to really stick it to Jerry and Stephen Jones. In the meantime, though, Cowboys Nation is still mourning the left tackle's departure.

This is an equally difficult time for Smith. After officially signing his Jets contract, the 33-year-old penned a heartfelt goodbye post on Instagram. Smith reflected on his time in Dallas and thanked his teammates, the Jones family and fans.

Smith concluded his farewell with a cryptic message for fans.

Tyron Smith leaves cryptic message for Cowboys fans in emotional goodbye post

"Cowboys Nation -- thank you for everything. While I'm excited for this next chapter of my football career, part of my heart will forever be left in Texas. Until we meet again..."

"Until we meet again" could mean a number of things. On one hand, Smith only signed a one-year contract with the Jets. In theory, he could return to the Cowboys in 2025 if he puts together another healthy season and wants to keep playing. He could also ride off into the sunset if he wins a Super Bowl with New York.

Should Smith call it a career after next season, it's widely expected he'll sign a one-day contract to retire with the Cowboys. Might that be the message the eight-time Pro Bowler left fans in his farewell Instagram post? It's certainly a possibility.

Though Smith never won a Super Bowl in Dallas, he's one of the most accomplished offensive lineman in franchise history. There's a spot waiting for him in the Cowboys Ring of Honor. Even though DeMarcus Ware finished his career in Denver, he too signed a one-day contract with Dallas to retire as a Cowboy.

It feels like Smith is on a similar path to Ware. The only difference? It was markedly easier for Dallas to ensure Smith was a lifetime Cowboy than Ware, who got released during the 2014 offseason because of his looming cap hit. But we digress.

Based on the contract Smith signed with the Jets, it appears Dallas wasn't serious about bringing him back. Though the deal has a max value of $20 million, it's highly unlikely that Smith hits the incentives to reach that. It contains $12 million in playing time incentives, $250K per playoff win and $500k Pro Bowl incentive.

Nevertheless, Smith's goodbye post oozed class. He's a man of few words, but this was a poignant message from No. 77. The jury is still out on Smith finishing his career with the Cowboys, but the final words from his farewell all but confirm he'll be back in some capacity before or after he retires.

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