The Cowboys' $13 million player is expected to start the season on the bench.

The Dallas Cowboys selected defensive tackle Mazi Smith with the 26th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft,

but fans should moderate their expectations for the former Michigan standout. According to The Athletic's Saad Yousuf and Jon Machota,

Smith is unlikely to start but will be an important component of the team's defensive line rotation.

"With a first-round pick, the stakes are always high. "Dallas drafted Smith to help stop the run while also providing pass rush up the middle,"

Yousuf and Machota reported on September 4, 2023. "He's not ready to start yet, but he'll be a factor in their DT rotation."

Smith agreed to a four-year, $13.2 million rookie contract with a basic salary of $750,000 in 2023. 

The Cowboys are likely to rely on veteran defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins, whom the team acquired in a trade last season. 

This offseason, Dallas re-signed the veteran to a one-year, $1.3 million contract extension. In an ideal world, Smith would have thrived in training camp and forced his way into the starting lineup. 


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