The Cowboys made huge waves yesterday when they inked their franchise left tackle Tyron Smith to a deal of a lifetime. That’s almost literal, as Dallas inked the 23-year old to an additional eight years on top of the two remaining on his rookie deal. If the length of the deal doesn’t drop jaws, the total value of the contract will. From 2014 to 2023, Tyron Smith is scheduled to earn just under $110 million over the course of the contract.
There is a reported $97.6 million of new money in the deal.
This can be looked at as an incredible win for the Cowboys, being able to lock up one of the game’s premier players for an entire decade. Most reports have NFL agents upset with the length of the deal. Assuredly, the market for elite tackles will rise far above the average of $11 million per season by the time the deal reaches its final years. Along those lines, though, the deals final years are what actually bring the average annual amount that high.
Here’s a look at what Jason Fitzgerald from OverTheCap.com has gathered for the breakdown of the contract.
The interesting thing here is that Tyron has bet on himself. Also, by signing a long-term deal that will keep him in Dallas, has he actually accomplished just that? Most players never see the end of their contracts, because they allow their agents to negotiate deals that have last year salaries that would cripple the franchise if the player were to remain under those terms.
Cowboys fans just witnessed that happen with franchise cornerstone DeMarcus Ware, who was released by Dallas instead of counting $16 million against their 2014 salary cap.
By signing a deal that has amounts from 2020-2023 that would be reasonable by today’s standards, Smith has afforded Dallas the opportunity to keep him, and truly let him be a Cowboy for life.
Per the statement released by Smith following the signing, his intention was just that.
Reports are surfacing that there wasn’t much negotiating between Smith and the team, as this was one of the preliminary offers put on the table by the Cowboys. Smith obviously wanted to stick with the franchise that stuck by him as he was dealing with serious family issues over the last few seasons. Family members were reportedly doing any and everything they could to milk the young millionaire out of his rookie salary millions. The club was highly supportive of Smith above and beyond teaching him how to be a professional athlete. They also helped him in his transition into adulthood. Smith felt inclined to show that appreciation by signing a team-friendly deal.
Of course, a deal is never set in stone. According to OverTheCap, only the first two years of the deal are fully guaranteed, worth just over $22 million. There are injury guarantees that can turn into full guarantees as the contract progresses, but yes, Dallas could cut Smith after the 2015 season and save from their future projected caps.
But why would they? Smith has cemented himself as one of the top left tackles in the league and will only be 32 at the end of this 10-year deal; amazing to think about. The contract allows for future years of base salary to be converted to restructured signing bonuses, as the team has done in the past. They could easily convert $10m of his base in 2015, and that would shave $7m off of Smith’s cap charge for that year. They could wait until 2019, and still have the five seasons allowed to prorate the cap hit of a bonus.
Smith’s deal will outlast the current CBA and television deals.