OXNARD, Calif. -- Three thoughts on Day 7 of Dallas Cowboys' training camp:
The Cowboys signed Tyron Smith to a huge deal -- a $98 million extension -- that will keep him locked up for the next 10 seasons.
It’s hard to believe owner Jerry Jones has ever felt better about giving a player a contract. Smith is only 23, and he’s already one of the best left tackles in the game. His work-ethic is beyond reproach and he has emerged as a leader.
When Jones talks about Smith, he compares him to tight end Jason Witten, a consumate professional. Every long-term deal has some risk; the risk on Smith’s deal is negligible.
Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is going to miss 8-10 weeks with a fractured right foot, which pretty much ruins his rookie season.
In a perfect world, Lawrence -- a need pick -- would be finding a groove about the middle of the season and making an impact for the Cowboys. Now, he’s just going to be getting started right about then.
More important, he’s missing all of the teaching that takes place during training camp. During the season, most of the work is about preparing for the next opponent. The Cowboys drafted Lawrence to be a significant contributor this season. Now that is unlikely to happen.
The Cowboys have five receivers who have pretty much guaranteed spots on the roster, including rookie Devin Street.
But there is so much potential in the receivers group that the Cowboys could easily keep six. If they do, the best special teams player will make the team. And we’re not going to know who that is until the preseason games start because you can only simulate so much in training camp. The games are when players such as LaRon Byrd, Dezmon Briscoe and Chris Boyd separate themselves.
Key number 24.6
Imagine if the Cowboys didn’t have a league-leading 24.6 million counting against their salary cap for players no longer on the team, how good their cap situation would be. As it is, the Cowboys were about $11 million under the salary cap before they signed Smith to his mega deal. Still, they have the room to get team-friendly deals done with Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray, if they choose. DeMarcus Ware ($8.5 million), Jay Ratliff ($6.9 million) and Miles Austin ($2.7 million) comprise the biggest chunks of dead money.
Player to Watch: Jeremy Mincey
Coach Jason Garrett said the Cowboys have been intrigued by Mincey for several seasons, but had not been able to get a deal done. They finally have him, and they need the 30-year-old veteran to put consistent pressure on the quarterback. He has 20 sacks in 66 career games. His best season occurred in 2011 for Jacksonville, when he had eight sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception. Dallas would take that with zero complaint.