NFL News & Analysis

Cowboys News: 5 players who could replace Tyron Smith

Dallas Cowboys stalwart left tackle Tyron Smith suffered a non-contact injury during a scrimmage Wednesday night and will miss significant time.

According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, Smith suffered an avulsion fracture of the knee, where the hamstring tendon that sits at the back of the knee pulls off the bone.

During an appearance on First Take Thursday morning, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that Smith would be back for the playoffs — if the Cowboys make the postseason.

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What the Cowboys are missing

Smith's 91.4 grade in 2021 was the second-best mark among all tackles. However, he's missed 19 out of a possible 33 regular season games over the prior two seasons to various injuries.

TYRON SMITH: PFF GRADE AND RANK SINCE 2014
Season Snaps PFF grade PFF Grade Rank
2021 810 90.2 2 of 88
2020 154 67.8
2019 882 76.6 16 of 88
2018 981 81.8 9 of 83
2017 758 76.9 16 of 86
2016 902 85.9 9 of 84
2015 1,023 91.6 2 of 81
2014 1,184 87.1 6 of 87
Cowboys left tackle position since 2017

Tyron Smith (3,581 snaps): 4.3% pressure rate allowed, 80.1 run-blocking grade

Any other LT (2,252 snaps): 8.6% pressure rate allowed, 42.8 PFF run-blocking grade

NFL Free Agent options

Eric Fisher: Fisher started for the Kansas City Chiefs for eight seasons before playing with the Indianapolis Colts in 2021. Last year, his 68.2 grade was his lowest since 2014, but he was recovering from a torn Achilles to start the season. Fisher earned pass-block grades above 72.0 in every season from 2015 to 2020.

Jason Peters: Peters signed with the Chicago Bears in August of 2021 and earned a 77.5 overall grade, his 14th grade above 70.0 out of 15 NFL seasons. Peters' 2.94 Wins Above Replacement (PFF WAR) generated over his career is the second-most of all tackles in the PFF era.

NFL Trade options

Laremy Tunsil: Tunsil has earned pass-block grades above 75.0 in every season of his career but has played just 1,079 total snaps over the last two seasons. His 4.5% pressure percentage allowed since his rookie season in 2016 ranks 10th among left tackles. He has two years remaining on his current deal and would cost Dallas just $19.535M total through 2023 following a recent contract restructure.

In-house options

Second-year fourth-round pick Josh Ball has been the backup left tackle in camp. Ball didn't play in 2021 but earned an 84.6 grade from 2019 to 2020 during his time at Marshall, 13th among qualifying left tackles.

Rookie first-round pick Tyler Smith has been lining up as the second-string left guard this offseason, but he could be thrust into game action sooner rather than later. Smith's 91.2 grade over his final two college seasons ranked fourth among qualifying left tackles.

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