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Tyron Smith’s Jets contract has Cowboys fans mad all over again

Tyron Smith’s Jets contract has Cowboys fans mad all over again

Most Cowboys fans were hopeful that the team would work a deal to bring longtime left tackle Tyron Smith back in 2024. Then they were disappointed at the news that Smith was heading east to play for the Jets. Then there was a small sigh of relief when it was revealed the oft-injured 33-year-old was signing a contract worth “up to $20 million.” That was followed by sadness when Smith posted a heartfelt farewell to Cowboys Nation.

But now that the actual terms of Smith’s deal have been revealed, the overriding emotion among the fanbase is anger– that the front office didn’t do more to keep the surefire Hall of Famer in the silver and blue.

Because it looks like Gang Green may have just gotten the bargain of the year in Smith.

Even the Jets “were surprised he took the offer,” according to ProFootballTalk.

As broken down by SI.com’s Albert Breer, Smith is fully guaranteed to earn just $6.5 million this season in New York. That’s practically pocket change for a surefire Hall of Famer who’s still performing at an All-Pro level. And it’s well within what the Dallas front office could have offered, with even the few bookkeeping moves they’ve made thus far.

By way of comparison, Brandin Cooks is set to make more in 2024. So is Terence Steele. And it’s just barely more than Donovan Wilson or Trey Lance.

That $6.5 million figure represents a slight dip from Smith’s 2023 total earnings of $7.3 million with the Cowboys, but the majority of that came from incentives. As it turns out, Smith’s Jets contract also offers plenty in the way of bonuses.

That’s where the $20 million max comes from. And while that makes for a nice round number for conversational purposes, it’s hard to imagine Smith actually cashes in on all of those financial mile markers.

For instance, if Smith sees the field on 68% of the Jets’ offensive snaps in 2024, he’ll pocket an extra $5.75 million.

In 2023, he was in on 71.54% of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps, but that was his highest snap count since 2019. (Despite his healthiest and most dominant season in a while, Smith still missed four games.) And his 2022 and 2020 snap counts wouldn’t even get him to the first threshold of bonuses in his current New York contract.

An even higher tier of snap count incentives could get Smith up to an additional $6.25 million (on top of the first bonus), but that figure is only if he plays on 98% or more of the offensive snaps. That’s a total the former first-round draft pick hasn’t reached since 2015, nearly a decade ago. Since he hasn’t surpassed 74% in the last four years, Smith tapping into that second bonus bracket at all feels like a serious roll of the dice.

And while it’s not unthinkable that Smith could claim another $500,000 for a ninth Pro Bowl nod this season, him counting on too many of those $250,000 bumps for Jets playoff wins also feels like a reach- even with a healthy Aaron Rodgers- in the stacked AFC.

How much Smith will ultimately take home in 2024 obviously depends primarily on how much he plays, which will be decided mostly by how healthy he can stay. And while he theoretically could amass $20 million in his first year in Gotham, the realistic odds are he’ll earn considerably less.

An offer for Cowboys fans

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Whatever Smith ends up making this season, the Cowboys likely could have scraped together (without too much trouble) the same amount to keep him in town.

To put it bluntly, they just didn’t want to.

The Cowboys would apparently rather start over at left tackle- Dak Prescott’s main protector- and take what will be a fifth-round compensatory draft pick in 2025 in exchange for a man they’ll probably put in their Ring of Honor one day.

And that will have the Cowboys’ fans in all kinds of feels for 2024.

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire