If Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com were GM of the Cowboys, he knows what his next order of business would be.
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.
Dallas currently finds itself with the worst cap situation in the NFL, as OverTheCap.com has them roughly $24 million over the cap, with seemingly few easy options for relief. There are certain players that need to be extended regardless of price however, and Smith is likely one of them.
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.
Smith’s performance is vital to the Cowboys success, particularly when considering he plays a premium position, and is protecting the blind side of Tony Romo, who is coming off back surgery. Extending Smith’s contract would provide the Dallas offensive line with two building blocks — C Travis Frederick being the other — that can anchor a position that has needed improvement for years.
It will likely take a major investment to keep Smith around. The top paid LT in the league in terms of total money is Browns LT Joe Thomas, who signed a seven-year, $80.5 million deal with $37 million guaranteed.