The move guarantees that Smith, the Cowboys’ Pro Bowl left tackle, will be with the team through 2015, however, the Cowboys want to sign him to a long-term deal as a cornerstone of the franchise.
Smith’s agent, Joe Panos, would not comment on the Cowboys picking up the option or any talks regarding a multiyear deal.
“He’s the best tackle in the league, in my opinion, and more importantly in other defensive linemen’s opinions and other offensive line coaches’ opinions,” Panos said. “He’s blessed and just wants to have a better year this year. He wants to get to the playoffs. That’s his goal. He wants to win.”
As per the new collective bargaining agreement, Smith, the No. 9 pick in the 2011 draft, will earn $10.039 million next season. As a top-10 pick, Smith will earn the average salary of the top 10 players at his position through 2014.
Had the Cowboys not exercised the option by Friday, Smith would have become an unrestricted free agent after the season. The salary becomes fully guaranteed if he is on the roster the first day of the 2015 league year. It is guaranteed only for injury in 2014.
Smith has started every game he has played since joining the Cowboys, missing one game in 2012 because of an ankle injury. He moved to left tackle in 2012 after starting at right tackle as a rookie and last season developed into one of the best left tackles in the game.
Smith, who doesn’t turn 24 until December, signed a four-year, $12.496 million deal in 2011 that was fully guaranteed and included a $7.588 million signing bonus.
His next multiyear deal will be even more lucrative.