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Does FB Keith Smith have a Future with the Cowboys?

Brian Martin

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Keith Smith: Will The Cowboys Carry A Fullback In 2017?

As things stand right now, Keith Smith's future with the Dallas Cowboys is unclear. He is currently a restricted free agent (RFA), which means the Cowboys hold all the leverage and it's up to them to decide whether or not he'll be back in 2018.

In case you're wondering, an RFA is any player with an expiring contract who has exactly three accrued NFL seasons. An accrued season is defined as a player being on a team for at least six regular-season games, although practice squad designation doesn't count. The reserve physically unable to perform (PUP) list for non-football injuries also doesn't count as an accrued season.

A restricted free agent is different from an unrestricted free agent (UFA). A UFA is free to re-sign with their team or test the open market, whereas an RFA is tied down unless the team allows them to become an unrestricted free agent.

As an RFA, Keith Smith is kind of in a holding pattern while the Dallas Cowboys figure out whether or not they want to keep him around.

He has value to the team, but can that be replaced with another player who would cost less?

Keith Smith

Dallas Cowboys FB Keith Smith

The Cowboys, of course, have options in regards of what to do with Keith Smith. They can try to work out a contract extension that is mutually beneficial to both parties or they can place a tender on him and secure his services for at least another season. Both options are likely on the table, but which one will they choose?

Of course, they could cut ties altogether as well.

For me, I don't know if giving Keith Smith a contract extension is worth it. The fullback position has pretty much become extinct around the NFL. The Cowboys are one of the few teams who still employ the position.

Now, don't get me wrong. I like Keith Smith, but I don't know if the playing time he receives justifies an extension. He only played 12.02% of the Cowboys offensive snaps in 2017. For comparison sake, Ryan Switzer played 8.64% and we all know how little he was utilized.

I just have a hard time justifying a contract extension for someone who plays so little on offense. But, like I mentioned earlier, he is a core special-teams player. In 2017, he played 56.64% of the special team snaps, which was top five on the team. That is where he is most valuable to the team.

Keith Smith

Dallas Cowboys FB Keith Smith (Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports)

The other option the Cowboys have is placing a tender on Keith Smith. There are four tender options they can use to retain his services.

  1. First-round tender ($3.91 million in 2017)
  2. Second-round tender ($2.746 million in 2017)
  3. Original-round tender ($1.797 million in 2017)
  4. Right of first refusal

It wouldn't make sense for the Cowboys to place a first or second-round tender on Keith Smith. He doesn't play enough to justify that kind of money. An original-round tender doesn't make sense either since he was an undrafted free agent. Leaving the Right of First Refusal as really the last remaining option.

There's really no clear-cut answer to what the Dallas Cowboys might have in mind for Keith Smith and his future with the organization. There is no doubt he has value to the team, but there's really no way of determining just how much.

Personally, I think he can be replaced rather easily. The Cowboys may need to carry four tight ends on the roster in 2018 and one of them can surely fill in at fullback if needed. His contribution on special teams is another story, but an incoming rookie could help in that area.

I think I might let him walk, but I wouldn't be shocked if the Cowboys retained his services. The only question is, how do they do that?

What do you think the Dallas Cowboys will do with Keith Smith?



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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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Pete186

    January 30, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Honestly, we should see if we can do better in the draft with one of those supplemental picks. If not than retain him.

    • Brian Martin

      Brian Martin

      January 30, 2018 at 9:11 am

      I’m kind of leaning towards letting him walk. I think the Cowboys TEs can fill in at FB. Swaim did it in college and there’s no reason to believe he can’t do it in the NFL.

      • mgmiller717

        January 31, 2018 at 12:49 pm

        We went down that road of having TE’s fill in, and everyone was screaming for a true fullback lol. Dallas is a run first team, sign him to a reasonable 2 year extension or move on to another FB in the draft, but don’t go back to the “TE’s can do the job” BS. A 6’4″ TE is NOT a prototypical lead blocker.

  2. EverybodyTalks

    January 30, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    I like him, but he has been underutilized, even though he has shown some talent as a receiver. I question the reason for a FB to take up a roster spot.

    • Cowboysdude

      January 31, 2018 at 6:10 am

      Well let me answer that for you…….it’s the attempt of the current regime to try to replicate the 90’s which they have neither the talent at the coaching level nor the players to do so……..

  3. Wayne A Caddell Jr

    February 7, 2018 at 12:27 am

    Why is the Fullback position being phased out? Daryle Johnston was an absolute reason for Dallas to have 3 rings. He’s one of those “hard nose meat and potatoes” type of guys. Remember, he made several special team plays himself. He delivered a devistating block on Bill Romanowski protecting Troy Aikman. I think it’s a bad idea to phase this position out. But like in all things, it’ll go away then come back

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Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo Won’t Be the Next Dallas Cowboys Offensive Coordinator

John Williams

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It Is Time for the Dallas Cowboys to Move on From Tony Romo

The pipe dream has been going on since former Dallas Cowboys Quarterback-turned CBS Analyst Tony Romo hung up his cleats for the black blazer. Fans from all corners of Cowboys Nation have clamored for a return to the field or at worst the sideline as the Cowboys offensive coordinator.

Let me stop you right there. It's not happening.

First of all. He's never been a coach at any level of football, so to assume that he could leave the broadcast booth and step into coaching an NFL offense and doing so at a high level is a huge leap of faith in number 9. Sure, Jon Gruden left the Monday Night Football booth for his lucrative deal with the Oakland Raiders, but he had won a Super Bowl and had been an offensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL for years before joining the broadcasting ranks.

Tony Romo has an excellent understanding of football. He displays it on a regular basis during the CBS broadcasts. But doing from the broadcast view, seeing what the defense is trying to do, and calling the plays to counter what the defense is trying to do are very different things.

Secondly, the coaching job would be a major time commitment that at the moment he doesn't have. Even if he's working a 40 hour work week in preparation for his three-hour time slot, the demands on NFL coaches are easily twice that with many coaches putting in 100 hour work weeks in preparation for Sundays. Tony Romo has a family that even he's talked about as part of the reason that he went into broadcasting instead of looking to hop on with another NFL team.

Finally, the job would mean a significant pay cut from what Romo is already making. It's estimated that the former Cowboys quarterback is making anywhere from $5-10 million dollars a year with CBS. Jason Garrett is making $6 million per year as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, so even if the Jones family was willing to pay first-time NFL coach Tony Romo a ton of money to come out of the broadcast booth, there's zero chance they pay him what he's making as a broadcaster. To do so, would be to undercut the head coach. Jason Garrett is Jerry Jones' guy. The owner and general manager wants Garrett to be the guy that leads the Cowboys to Super Bowl success, so there's zero chance he'd pay a coordinator close to Garrett's money, which would lead to constant speculation about the head coach and his future with the organization.

I love Tony Romo. His jersey is one of only two Cowboys jerseys that I own -- along with Darren Woodson -- and I think he could make a good coach one day, but I'd be hard pressed to see him come out of the coaching booth to take a coordinator job and have immediate success. The guys that are offensive coordinators in the NFL have been grinding for years to earn their jobs. Most started as position coaches -- see Sean McVay as Redskins TE coach. The Dallas Cowboys will spend the next few days, and perhaps weeks, identifying their replacement for Scott Linehan, but let's put to bed the dream of Romo as offensive coordinator.

It's just not going to happen.



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Player News

Cowboys Sign WR Devin Smith, Former 2nd-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Devin Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have reportedly signed Receiver Devin Smith, previously with the New York Jets, to a futures contract. Smith was a 2nd-round pick, 37th overall, in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Before going pro, Devin was a college teammate of current Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, Rod Smith, and Noah Brown. They were all members of the 2014 Ohio State Buckeyes team that won the National Championship.

Smith's agent, Jason Bernstein, tweeting the following earlier today:

Jason Bernstein on Twitter

Congrats to WR Devin Smith @dsmithosu for signing with the #DallasCowboys! Welcome back. https://t.co/hCMYoE8fEh

Thus far, Smith's NFL career has been marred by injuries. He has suffered two ACL tears in the same knee and only been able to appear in 14 games. He was waived by the Jets last summer and was not with any team last season.

Overall, the 2015 class of receivers has been disappointing. Amari Cooper has been a star and other later-round picks like Tyler Lockett, Stefon Diggs, and Jamison Crowder have been good. But the other big names of the class, such as Kevin White, Breshad Perriman, and DeVante Parker, have not lived up to the hype.

The Cowboys are known for trying to reclaim players who once had high draft status and bad starts to their careers. They are clearly hoping to cash in on Smith's previously perceived potential, which had him projected as a possible first-round talent at one time.

For both Devin and Dallas' sake, we hope it's a success!



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Dallas Cowboys

Breaking: Scott Linehan and Dallas Cowboys Part Ways

John Williams

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Scott Linehan Acknowledges Need for New "Wrinkles" in Cowboys Offense

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan have mutually agreed to part ways following a tumultuous season that saw the Dallas Cowboys offense finish outside the top 12 three out of his four seasons in Dallas.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Sources: The #Cowboys are firing OC Scott Linehan. Taking their offense in a new direction. An announcement is coming.

Scott Linehan was brought in prior to the 2015 season and saw his offenses finish 31st, fifth, 14th, and 22nd in his four years as the Cowboys play caller. The 2015 season can be excused as the Cowboys rolled out Kellen Moore, Matt Cassell, and Brandon Weeden for 13 starts after Tony Romo was injured twice during the season, but the team 2-11 in those 13 starts and the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs despite a strong performance on the defensive side of the football.

The Cowboys saw an offense that finished fifth in the NFL in points in 2016 decline each of the last two offseasons and Linehan has been continually criticized by analysts, fans, and players as well.

Many believe that the reason that Dez Bryant and Brice Butler weren't brought back in the offseason was because of the public criticism of the offense and the play caller instilling the offense and that criticism has carried over to this season when Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper acknowledged that the Philadelphia Eagles were sitting on the slant routes that they had run all game. Dak mentioned that he changed Amari's route to a go route, which led to a 75 yard touchdown that helped open up the offense.

Cole Beasley has been frustrated with his role for much of the season and deservedly so. He was often non-existent in the offensive game plan until the final five minutes of football games.

In the running game, the offense had become too predictable and reliant upon jumbo formations that led to Ezekiel Elliott having to run against eight in the box anywhere from 25-30% of the time. For perspective, Todd Gurley only ran against eight-man fronts around eight percent of the time. Scott Linehan never looked to attempt to take players out of the box, instead insisting on motioning more players into the box for the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott to run against. It's amazing when you think about it, that Ezekiel Elliott was able to win the rushing title when facing loaded fronts as often as he did.

This was a move that needed to happen and the Dallas Cowboys didn't need to waste anymore time to make it happen. The offense had become stale and frustrating for the players as well as the fans. While Jason Garrett started the offseason saying he "didn't expect any changes," this was a move that absolutely had to happen for the offense to take a step forward. Below, you can read Jason Garrett's announcement on the move.

Mike Garafolo on Twitter

Cowboys have fired Scott Linehan

Even after the move for Amari Cooper, the offense looked better, but it still struggled at times to move the football.

The Cowboys have a young team with especially young players on the offensive side of the football. They have a quarterback who can throw from the pocket, but has excellent movement skills and capabilities of throwing the ball on the run. He's an excellent runner on designed runs. Despite us knowing all that, Scott Linehan looked reluctant to use him on designed quarterback runs that weren't read options or speed options. What you saw on designed runs in the Seattle game is what this team should be doing five times a game.

Now the question becomes, who should the Cowboys next offensive coordinator be? Our own, Staff Writer Brian Martin, laid out 5 Options to be the Next Offensive Coordinator earlier this week. I suggest you give it a read.



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