Source: LT Tyron Smith unlikely to return to Cowboys

FRISCO, Texas -- Tyron Smith is unlikely to play a 14th season with the Dallas Cowboys after initial discussions left the sides at different ends of the salary spectrum, according to a source who confirmed multiple reports.

The Cowboys met with Smith's agent on Friday during the NFL scouting combine to see what the chances were that their 2011 first-round pick would return in 2024. A door to potentially returning, however, is not closed if the demand for Smith does not materialize at the start of free agency.

Speaking Friday after the meeting, owner and general manager Jerry Jones struck an optimistic tone.

"We'll get in there in the right way and discuss his business and work out something that's good for both of us," Jones said. "He's had a great career. He's a Hall of Fame player. And not only that, his personal life is one of the great stories that I've been a part of with players, or coaches or anybody, commissioners or anybody in the NFL.

"So, where I'm going with this is to certainly get something that would have him on the field, I can't tell you how good shape I thought we were in with him as we got into the playoffs and his health and where he was. Thought we were just where you want to be. And I gave a lot of credit to coach Mike McCarthy, him getting it pushed up there to where we had him just right as we went into the playoffs."

While Smith played 14 games in 2023, he has not played a full season since 2015. He has dealt with serious neck, back, hamstring and elbow injuries, but last year, he and the team found a suitable practice plan that kept him game ready while limiting the amount of contact he would get during the week. He was named a second-team All-Pro after posting a season which he had an 89.1% pass block win rate and a 78.8% run block win rate.

Smith, who turns 34 in December, was the first offensive lineman the Cowboys had picked in the first round since 1981 when he was selected ninth overall in 2011. He played right tackle as a rookie before moving to left tackle and becoming one of the best in the league for nearly a decade. He has been named to the Pro Bowl eight times and has been a four-time All-Pro.

A potential departure would move tackle to the top of the Cowboys' needs list in the upcoming draft. The Cowboys selected Tyler Smith in the first round in 2022 with the idea of him becoming the left tackle of the future, but he has played so well at left guard, earning a Pro Bowl spot in 2023, that the team could opt to keep him on the interior. In recent years, the Cowboys have drafted tackles Josh Ball, Matt Waletzko and Asim Richards, but none appear ready to take over as a starter.

The draft is considered strong at offensive tackle, with a number of options the Cowboys could use with the 24th overall pick.