Right time to have a top-10 pick

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys picked the right year to have a top-10 pick.

Under the terms of the proposed collective bargaining agreement, tackle Tyron Smith, the ninth overall pick, will receive a four-year contract and the Cowboys will have the option of adding a fifth year to the deal, possibly at a cost of the transition tag in 2015. According to sources, teams will have to pick up that option after the third year of the deal.

Last year’s No. 9 pick, Buffalo’s C.J. Spiller, signed a five year deal worth $25 million and included $20.8 million guaranteed. He also had another $12.5 million in incentives in his deal.

According to this John Clayton story, Cam Newton is looking at a four-year, $22 million deal from Carolina. St. Louis gave Sam Bradford $78 million over six years as the top pick in 2010.

If Spiller’s guaranteed money is almost as much as what Newton could earn as the No. 1 pick, then Smith is looking at a greatly reduced rate. If the fifth-year option is the average salary of the top-10 players at that position, he could get a big raise if he performs well. The transition tag for offensive linemen in 2011 is roughly $9.4 million.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones long avoided the chance to move into the top 10 in the draft because of the economics. In 2011, the owners looked to have gotten their way.