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Cowboys LT Tyron Smith Primed To Become League’s Highest Paid LT?

Todd Archer of ESPN.com has an interesting take on the impact the Jason Peters contract extension could have on Cowboys LT Tyron Smith.

Archer, quite frankly, does not believe that Peters’ extension should affect Smith at all.

“Smith’s deal should be much bigger than this whenever the Cowboys decide to sign their Pro Bowl left tackle to an extension.”

Archer supports his opinion by mentioning that; “Smith does not turn 24 until Dec. 12. He is coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance. He had his best season. He has fully acclimated to the left tackle spot after playing right tackle as a rookie in 2011. It is rare to find a player of Smith’s age and ability who is closing in on free agency. He was 20 when the Cowboys picked him ninth overall.

Smith is still under contract until after the 2014 season, but the Cowboys have a team option for 2015 that can be picked up in May.  Smith is still playing under the four-year, $12.5 million contract he signed as a rookie first-round pick out of USC.

Pro Football Focus graded Smith as the fifth-best tackle in the league last season, allowing only one sack, three QB hits, and 27 QB hurries.

For all of the reasons mentioned by Archer, it is very reasonable to expect any potential extension to be more in line with the contract the Cleveland Browns gave Joe Thomas.  Thomas, the highest paid left tackle in the league, signed a seven-year, $80.5 million deal with $37 million guaranteed as a 27 year-old in 2011.

However, the Cowboys cap space issues will be a major inhibitor to any transaction from this point forward. Dallas is roughly $18 million over the estimated 2014 cap, according to ESPN.com recent projections.


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