FRISCO - Any thoughts on the now-gossiped-about idea of trading Tyron Smith for a draft pick should center completely on what the Dallas Cowboys think they're capable of.
And as the Cowboys think they are capable of true contention in 2022, they're not trading the future Hall-of-Fame left tackle.
The concept is being kicked around in the public thanks to the eight-time Pro Bowler's name being mentioned by Bleacher Report, which suggested a trade proposal that has the Cowboys sending Smith to Pittsburgh in exchange for a third-round pick.
B/R notes some foundation of sorts, writing, "There is precedent for aging tackles to return a decent haul of draft capital. A 31-year-old Trent Williams netted third- and fifth-round picks, and Duane Brown was traded for second- and third-rounders when he was 32 years old.''
Smith is 31, with an injury history that likely decreases his value to other teams - and in theory decreases his value in Dallas. His troublesome health has caused him to miss large chunks of recent seasons, which has B/R believing, “Getting back a third-rounder for Smith would be a win for the Cowboys, and a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers should be happy to oblige. The Steelers had PFF’s No. 26-rated offensive line in 2021 while deploying ineffective rookie Dan Moore Jr. at left tackle.”
B/R also notes accurately that Dallas now has in-house the heir to Tyron Smith in first-round rookie Tyler Smith. As COO Stephen Jones said, “We think (Tyler) can be our left tackle for a long time, at some point in time. Obviously, we got the best in the business now in Tyron Smith, but at some point with (Tyler's) ability we really believe he can be a really top, top left tackle.”
We'll disagree with B/R on Tyron's price tag; they call it a "substantial cost'' when in fact Tyron at two more years at about $13 million APY is quite team-friendly - as long as he's healthy enough to play.
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Anything else wrong with the idea? Just one thing: While irresponsible speculation has the Cowboys "not trying to win this year,'' the fact is, their salary cap room is about the future but the roster itself, and the attitude about it, is very much "win now.'' Under owner Jerry Jones, Dallas has long maintained a "Super Bowl or bust'' mentality, and loading up by keeping Tyron would follow logically that mindset.
If the Cowboys get to the October trade deadline with a woeful record and no real playoff hope? Dumping Tyron - and any other top-salaried elder - will be in play. But for the next two years, as long as the Cowboys consider themselves a contender? The smart bet is that Tyron Smith will be viewed as a key to that contention.
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