The Dallas Cowboys have an incredibly important decision to make about restricted free agent David Irving, as they consider placing a second or first round tender on the impactful defensive lineman. While they consider the future of Irving, ESPN's Todd Archer is reporting that their minds have already been made about fellow restricted free agent, fullback Keith Smith.
The Cowboys will not place a tender on Smith, although they do wish to have him back in Dallas for the 2018 season. The low tender is estimated to be about $1.9 million, which is still a respectable number for a fullback in today's NFL.
Keith Smith has proven to be a valuable part of the Cowboys running game since converting from linebacker prior to the 2016 season. The departure of Tyler Clutts left Dallas without a fullback, but Smith has filled in nicely the past two seasons.
Keith Smith was also second on the team in special teams tackles in 2017, finishing with 10. Smith also forced two fumbles on special teams last season. Clearly, Keith Smith is of value to the Cowboys moving forward, but the smart move to make money-wise is to not place a tender on him prior to free agency.
The Cowboys seem to be one of the few remaining teams which use a fullback with any type of consistency in today's league, but even they only played Keith Smith on 12% of the snaps last season. Regardless, the Cowboys do wish to have Keith Smith on the roster come training camp.