Cowboys Sign LB Jaylon Smith to 5-Year, $64 Million Extension

FILE – In this Aug. 18, 2018, file photo, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith (54) runs on to the field before a preseason NFL Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, in Arlington, Texas. Jaylon Smith was already becoming a leader of the Dallas defense before Sean Lee got hurt again. Closing in on a full recovery from a devastating college knee injury, the former Notre Dame linebacker is making the Cowboys’ draft gamble of two years ago look like a good one. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman, File)

Last week in Oxnard, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones hinted that a player not named Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper or Ezekiel Elliott could be the first Cowboys starter to sign a new deal this summer.

“What may surprise you is we may come up with one that you haven’t been asking about,” Jones said.

Now we know.

The Cowboys announced a five-year extension with Jaylon Smith — a triumph for the talented middle linebacker who, just three years ago, suffered a career-threatening knee injury in his final college game at Notre Dame.

The deal is worth $64 million and includes $35.5 million in guaranteed money, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said.

The dominant camp storyline has been the ongoing contract talks with Prescott, Cooper and Elliott, the NFL rushing champ who continues to train away from the team while he seeks a new deal.

Tuesday, Jerry Jones wanted to shift the focus to Smith: his perseverance, his redemption, and ultimately his reward.

“This is a contract story,” Jones said. “This has it all. It has overcoming, it has talent, it has rewarding of ambition, it has the beginning of what ambition will get you in the future.”

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SOURCE: Dallas Cowboys, Rob Phillips