The unknown surrounding the 2020 NFL season could have a trickle effect into 2021 and quite possibly beyond. That trickle effect could have a huge impact on teams future plans, which might force their hand into making a move they wouldn't have otherwise. For the Dallas Cowboys, that move could quite possibly be the release of their All-Pro Left Tackle Tyron Smith.
I know it's a little odd to think about, let alone discuss, but I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility 2020 could be Tyron Smith's last season with the Dallas Cowboys. I'm fully aware he has four years remaining on his current contract and it's a team friendly deal – he's currently the 10th highest paid LT – but his release would give the Cowboys nearly $9 million in salary cap relief.
Now, before I take this any further let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am in no way trying to toss Tyron Smith out the door. He is still playing at a really high level, despite missing a few games a year the past few seasons. His value as Dak Prescott's blindside protector shouldn't be undervalued. He still one of the best in the game, however, that doesn't mean he's untouchable.
Unfortunately, Tyron Smith's fate could be tied to the Coronavirus pandemic. There's a chance the Coronavirus could have a huge impact on the amount of revenue the NFL is able to produce in 2020. That could lessen the amount of the 2021 salary-cap teams around the league will have to abide by. That could put certain players heads on the chopping block, like Tyron Smith.
Despite arguably still being one of the best left tackles in the league, Tyron Smith's future with the Cowboys could be coming to an end sooner than later. He still just 29 – turns 30 December 12, 2020 – but there comes a point in time where age becomes irrelevant and bodies start to break down for professional athletes. For Smith, that could already be happening.
I hate to say it or even think it, but it might be time for the Dallas Cowboys to start thinking about replacing No. 77. It really hasn't been plausible before now due to the dead money they'd have to absorb, but that won't be the case any longer after the 2020 season. They'd actually save $10.5 million with just $1,745,000 in dead money if they make him a 2021 pre-June cut.
There is a problem with this way of thinking though. The Dallas Cowboys don't currently have Tyron Smith's replacement on the roster. Considering how highly valued the position is and where the Cowboys are projected to draft in 2021 (mid to late 20s) finding a suitable replacement won't be easy. So, all of this talk may be much ado about nothing.
The only reason I brought all of this up is because I think it's something to keep an eye on throughout the 2020 season. If Tyron Smith's injuries continue to be a problem or if the pandemic hits the NFL hard, Smith could very well find his job in jeopardy.