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Eight-Time Pro Bowler Gives Preferred Free Agent Destination

Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith is set to hit free agency and has no desire to retire quite yet.
Tyron Smith Free Agency

Eight-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Tyron Smith is perhaps the most accomplished player set to hit free agency. Originally selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the USC product has established himself as a no-doubt Hall of Famer and one of the best offensive linemen of his generation.

After playing in 13 or more games in each of his first nine seasons, Smith started battling various ailments once he turned 3o. A neck injury limited in to two games in 2020 and a knee injury forced him out of all but four games in 2022.

With this extensive injury history combined with his age and contract status, some speculated that Tyron Smith could retire rather than hit free agent. However, the two-time All-Pro put those rumors to rest, as he recently said he has no interest in retiring and wants to return to the Dallas Cowboys.

Tyron Smith Wants to Avoid Free Agency, Return to Cowboys

Tyron Smith wants to stay with Dallas in free agency, and the feeling should be mutual. While he has struggled with injuries in recent years, the former first-round pick managed to stay relatively healthy in 2023. Appearing in 13 games, the left tackle finished the season with an 83.7 PFF grade, good for the fourth-best mark among 81 eligible players.

Of course, thanks to the salary cap, sometimes teams have no choice but to let their star players go. The Dallas Cowboys are currently $16.12 million over the salary cap, and while they could lower that money by extending Dak Prescott, reports indicate the quarterback is looking for a massive $60 million per year contract. If they’re spending that much on one position, the team might have to let Tyron Smith walk in free agency.

The Dallas Cowboys drafted Tyler Smith intending to make him their left tackle of the future. While he had a great season at guard, he could easily shift out wide and serve as Prescott’s blindside protector. It’s considerably easier to find a cost-effective guard in free agency than a tackle, so Tyron Smith might end up on a new team for the first time in his professional career. If this happens, these five teams should be looking to add him.

Possible Next Teams

Tennessee Titans

The Tennesee Titans offensive line is a complete and total mess. Will Levis may or may not be a franchise quarterback, but he’ll never have a chance to properly prove himself with such terrible protection. Signing Tyron Smith in free agency would instantly solve their biggest issue, and with $72.3 million in cap space, this team should be able to add the eight-time Pro Bowler and still address the rest of the roster.

Kansas City Chiefs

Despite having Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce, the 2023 Kansas City Chiefs won with defense. This is because, outside of those two, the Chiefs offense doesn’t have that many impact players. While their interior offensive line is as good as any in the game, the tackle situation needs some help. Donovan Smith probably won’t be back in free agency, so the Chiefs might as well upgrade the position with Tyron Smith. Adding a player of his caliber to the offense would just be unfair and give Kansas City the inside path to a three-peat.

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears have the resources to turn into an overnight competitor. While Caleb Williams will fix the quarterback position, the offensive line could use some help. Tyron Smith is the best available tackle in free agency, and even if he is on the back nine of his career, he’ll be an invaluable resource to help Williams adjust to life in the NFL.

New England Patriots

Trent Brown is not coming back to the Patriots, which means this team needs a new left tackle. The Patriots have one of the most barren offenses in the league, with needs at tackle, wide receiver, and quarterback. First-year head coach Jerod Mayo will have to prioritize how to fix these positions, and Tyron Smith could be his top choice in free agency. With $73.9 million to spend, New England should be able to throw a bunch of money at the offensive line and create a good enough unit for 2024.

New Orleans Saints

How could the New Orleans Saints possibly afford to sign Tyron Smith in free agency? Your guess is as good as mine, but this team always finds a way to kick the can down the road. Derek Carr folds under pressure, but he’s a good quarterback when kept clean. So, if the Saints want to make the playoffs, they’ll have to invest in someone better than Trevor Penning.

Main Photo: Jerome Miron – USA Today Sports


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