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Should Cowboys Start Negotiating a Contract Extension With Rod Smith?

Brian Martin

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Should Cowboys Offer Rod Smith a Contract Extension?
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

It's still a little early in the process, but it's looking as if Rod Smith could possibly be Ezekiel Elliott's primary backup next season. He is coming off a fantastic 2017 campaign in which he set career highs in nearly every category, but his rookie contract expires after the completion of the 2018 season.

The fact that Rod Smith is entering a contract year got me thinking about whether or not the Dallas Cowboys should go ahead and open the negotiations for a contract extension. Smith is by no means a top priority right now, but it might be wise to go ahead and get a jump start on the process and lock him up before he comes even more expensive.

There of course is no hurry to get any kind of new deal completed anytime soon. The Cowboys top priorities right now are figuring out how to keep both Zack Martin, who could become the highest-paid offensive guard in the NFL, and DeMarcus Lawrence, who is coming off a Pro Bowl season. You can also throw Anthony Hitchens name in there somewhere as well.

Opening negotiations with Rod Smith could still be the wise thing to do on the Cowboys part. If they truly believe he will continue to progress like he has year after year and will continue to be a valued member of the team, then I say strike while the iron is hot.

Rod Smith

Dallas Cowboys RB Rod Smith

Fortunately though, the Cowboys have time on their side. They could possibly have two years before they have to make any kind of decision regarding Rod Smith. He is still under contract through 2018 and the Cowboys still technically hold his rights in 2019.

You see, Smith will become a restricted free agent upon the completion of the 2018 season. That means the Cowboys still hold his fate in their hands if they decide to place a tender on him to secure his services for another year.

This is the same kind of thing the Cowboys will likely do with David Irving this season until he proves he is worthy of a second contract. This is probably the right approach to take for both players, but if Irving balls out in 2018, he could play himself out of the Cowboys price range.

It looks like a risk the Cowboys are willing to take, but I don't think they have the same kind of concerns with Rod Smith as they do with David Irving. Smith is virtually a choir boy compared to Irving, which is why I have no problems opening contract negotiations.

All of this really depends on what the Dallas Cowboys think about Rod Smith long-term. Are they comfortable with him in his current role as a backup RB and a core special-teams player?

If the answer is yes, then it might be a good idea to test the waters and get in touch with Smith's agent to see what they believe his market value is. But, like I said earlier, there's no rush to get anything done.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys should lock up Rod Smith long-term?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Randy Martin

    February 1, 2018 at 10:26 am

    I think we began to get a taste of what Rod Smith can bring to the team last year but only got a glimpse in the last quarter of the season. The problem we have in managing the cap is what to do with all the other FA’s and the one’s we will look to add from other teams. The whole contract thing is like whack-a-mole. You don’t worry about it until it pops up. I would say if in fact he is #2 this season and does well, nothing would preclude an in-season extension but there is also the very real prospect of a new RB in the draft or free agency that could change things so I think too early to address this.

  2. Nick Russo

    February 1, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    I really like what rod brings to the table. He is a capable #2 back with a nice combination of speed and power. I almost would like to see him come in to spell zeke after he has tired down the defenses as smith is not an easy tackle. When you factor in his pass blocking and pass catching abilities and his special teams role, I think he is a great fit for the backup role. I personally think it would be smart to extend him now while it’s cheaper. If he doesn’t “pan out” it won’t have been a hefty investment. But based on what we saw of him last year, I think he will only get better and with it more expensive. It seems low risk high reward to extend him sooner than later.

  3. Travis Diggs

    February 1, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    I think they should keep the Smith brothers together as long as possible. Their each others biggest fans, it’s gonna make them better both. We already know what their future is with Jaylon but I think Rod is a dynamic player in his own right and was very under utilized this season. Keep the bros together

  4. Cris de Campos

    February 2, 2018 at 11:56 pm

    They’d be best to sign a deal with Rod and then trade Zeke and draft someone like Sony Michel or Guice, or Chubb, or any of the other quality RBs coming out this year, in the 2nd-4th round. Zeke is wonderful but he’s a distraction to the team that is unnecessary. The OL is really what makes this team go and they could probably upgrade it by shipping out the diva known as Zeke.

    • Cris de Campos

      February 2, 2018 at 11:57 pm

      Note… This is how I felt they should have handled Brice Butler last year.

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Star Blog

Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?

Brian Martin

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Could Loaded FA Safety Class Drive Down Earl Thomas' Price Tag?

It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.

Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.

A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.

First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:

  • Earl Thomas
  • Landon Collins
  • Lamarcus Joyner
  • Tyrann Mathieu
  • Adrian Amos
  • Clayton Geathers
  • Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
  • Glover Quinn
  • Tre Boston
  • Kenny Vaccaro
  • George Iloka
  • Jimmie Ward
  • Adrian Phillips

Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.

With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.

Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.

The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.

Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?



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Star Blog

Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

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Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.

Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?

As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.

Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.

Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.

That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.

However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.

Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.

Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.

The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.

Just something to think about...



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Star Blog

2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back

Kevin Brady

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Anthony Brown's Resurgence A Great Sign for Cowboys Defense
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.

As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.

Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.

These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.

Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.

Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.

Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.

Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.



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