Cowboys Sign Jaylon Smith To Extension

The Cowboys have reached a long-term extension with linebacker Jaylon Smith, sources tell Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). Smith has been vocal about his desire for a new deal, and he’s got one in place with days to go before the regular season.

Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that it’s a five-year, $64MM pact (Twitter link), but that doesn’t really tell the whole story. Smith was under contract for about $1.3MM this year and would have been eligible for a restricted free agent tender in 2020, and the extension did not subsume those amounts. So, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com tweets, Smith is now playing under a seven-year, $69.7MM deal, and Smith will be under club control through 2025. David Moore of the Dallas Morning News tweets that the extension does include $35.5MM in guaranteed money, but it looks like a fairly team-friendly pact overall.

Still, it’s a good day for Smith, who recently said that he never wants to play for another team. “I want to be a Cowboy. I want to be a Cowboy for the rest of my life,” Smith said last week. “Understanding what they’ve done for me, taking a chance, taking a risk. Now they’re getting the return on their investment. It’s a beautiful thing to be a Dallas Cowboy.”

Indeed, the Cowboys took a gamble on Smith by selecting him in the second round of the 2016 draft. When he was healthy at Notre Dame, Smith was viewed as a top 10 pick. However, severe knee injuries caused his stock to plummet. At the time, it was speculated that Smith could drop like a stone due to medical concerns, but the Cowboys rolled the dice and pounced on him with the No. 34 overall choice.

Smith missed all of 2016 and played mostly as a part-timer in 2017. Then, last year, he came back with a vengeance. Smith graded as the league’s No. 6 off-ball linebacker last season, per Pro Football Focus, making a career-high 121 tackles and registering four sacks. Between Smith and 2018 first-rounder Leighton Vander Esch (No. 4 on PFF’s 2018 linebacker performance list), the Cowboys have one of the NFL’s best three-down linebacking duos.

Of course, there’s still plenty of work for the Cowboys in the coming days with Dak PrescottEzekiel Elliott, and Amari Cooper all eligible for extensions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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