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Why 8x Pro Bowler Tyron Smith Could be Steelers Next Premiere Starter in 2022

Justin K. Aller / Getty Images

Why 8x Pro Bowler Tyron Smith Could be Steelers Next Premiere Starter in 2022

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been getting hammered when it comes to discussing their offensive line. Sports analytics company Pro Football Focus ranked all 32 offensive lines, and Pittsburgh was ranked very low at number 30. Even though the team has already signed some linemen in free agency in Mason Cole and James Daniels to try and upgrade the line, why should they stop there? The more talent, the more depth, the better your chances are for your favorite team to have a great season.

With that in mind, should the Steelers take a chance in trading for Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle, Tyron Smith?

Steelers Tyron Smith

Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Adding More O-Line Depth?

Smith has been linked to the black and gold recently according to a report from Heavy.com. Currently, it is believed that a trade for the two-time All-Pro tackle would be centered around a third-round pick. On the surface, it seems like a deal should have been completed by now as Pittsburgh could potentially have their starting left tackle for the 2022 season. However, there are some red flags that have put these talks on hold.

Regardless of the sport you play, age always plays a huge factor in terms of long-term performance and playing career. On average, a career in the NFL lasts anywhere from about three to four years, with the average age of an NFL player being around 26 years old, regardless of position. A player will usually develop and hit their peak years between the ages of 25 and 28. For an offensive lineman, their general career span falls right within these parameters as their average time frame is roughly three-and-a-half years, 26 years of age, and the same rate of improvement.

Applying these factors to Smith, and you can understand where the issues arise. After 11 years in the league and being 31 years old, Smith has already hit his prime and his production levels may not be as high as he’s currently on the downward slope of the age curve. That isn’t to say that he’d still be of great value when healthy, but therein lies another problem.

In his first four seasons, Smith never missed a snap for the Cowboys, starting in every game. Sadly, 2015 would be the last he would play a full season as he’s been plagued with many injuries, including but not limited to a lumbar sprain, a bulging disc in his back, multiple knee and ankle sprains, and a cervical neck injury. The neck injury alone caused him to miss the majority of the 2020 season, playing in just two games. Last season, Smith was unable to play all 17 regular season games, but he still managed to turn in another Pro Bowl appearance for his resume. Knowing he’s coming off a moderately healthy and Pro Bowl season should help Pittsburgh see that Smith would indeed be a valuable piece to add to the offensive line, but just how high of a price tag should the Steelers be willing to pay?

Like previously stated, when looking on the surface at the potential assets to be moved for this deal to happen, it should be a relatively easy process and the trade most likely should have already taken place. However, after diving into the details, it seems what Dallas is asking for may appear to be a little on the high side when asking for a third-round pick in exchange for Smith. The Cowboys are obviously projecting Smith to garner the same level of value as other offensive linemen that have been moved in recent years. The two most notable examples are Duane Brown netting the Houston Texans a third rounder in 2018 and a second rounder in 2019 from the Seattle Seahawks, as well as Trent Williams securing the then Washington Football Team with a fifth-round pick in 2020 and a third-round pick in the 2021 from the San Francisco 49ers.

Steelers Duane Brown Trent Williams

NFL.com

Both men were in their early 30s at the time and are also multiple All-Pro and Pro Bowl members just like Smith is right now. But should Smith still be viewed the same way as Brown and Williams?

Steelers Trading Draft Capital?

It’s no question as to whether Smith should be monitored in serious roster moves, because he most definitely would be an upgrade to the O-line, especially at the left tackle position. Plus, it would be good to bring in another veteran who can challenge sophomore Dan Moore Jr. in training camp. As for the trade package, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Steelers snag Smith for either a fourth and fifth rounder, or two fifth rounds picks. It would be a safer strategy than sending a third-round pick just in case things don’t go as well as the team hopes.

 

What do you think? Is Tyron Smith someone the Steelers should seriously investigate? What do believe the trade package should look like? Let us know in the comments.

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Name: Matt Tristan Hometown: Binghamton NY Birthday: 08/10/1994 Played football in high school and college (St. John Fisher College - Division 3) Majored in Communication/Journalism Minor in Sports Management Steelers fan since 1994

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