When the Cowboys announced a contract extension for Jaylon Smith, it was first a celebration of the linebacker’s journey from a career-threatening knee injury in college to one of the NFL’s richest contracts at his position.
Of course, it didn’t take long for the focus to turn to holdout running back Ezekiel Elliott, or the question of deals for quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Amari Cooper with each entering the final year of his rookie contract.
“There is less pie left,” owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday. “Make no bones about it. There is less pie.”
Smith and the Cowboys agreed on a $64 million, five-year extension with $33.5 million guaranteed for the 2016 second-round pick. The average annual value of $12.8 million on the extension is among the top five for inside linebackers.
The 24-year-old essentially lost a year on his rookie contract because he spent his rookie season on the non-football injury list after the devastating left knee injury in his final game for Notre Dame, for which he was an All-American in 2015.
The deal came together in a matter of days despite all the talk of the missing Elliott, the two-time rushing champion who wants a new contract while still having two years left on the current one.
Photo: Max Faulkner / TNS/Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Image 1 1
“For me, it’s about being a Dallas Cowboy for life,” Smith said. “Really, technically, with the tender year, the Cowboys have my rights for two more years. For us to get an extension like this is just a testament to how much we love one another and we believe in one another as well.”
Smith started all 16 games for the Cowboys last season, when he was second on the team in tackles (150) and tackles for loss (five).
Before nerve damage associated with tearing a ligament in his knee during Notre Dame’s 44-28 loss to Ohio State in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s Day 2016, Smith was considered a top prospect. Though plenty of teams wondered if he could play again, the Cowboys took him 34th overall.
• Elliott won’t face criminal charges after scuffling with a music festival security guard in Las Vegas. Prosecutor Steve Wolfson said the findings of an investigation into the May incident “lacked prosecutorial merit.”
Stanford punter to stick? The Patriots have cut punter Ryan Allen, who booted them to three Super Bowl victories in six seasons.
The move likely means fifth-round draft choice Jake Bailey will make the team. He has punted twice in the exhibition season, including a 54-yarder against Tennessee on Saturday.
Bailey left Stanford as the school’s all-time leader in average per punt (43.8 yards). He is the first right-footed punter New England head coach Bill Belichick has drafted, according to the Boston Globe.
Briefly: The Chargers parted ways with their second-longest tenured player by releasing long snapper Mike Windt, who would have been entering his 10th season. … A person familiar with the situation says Denver rookie quarterback Drew Lock will miss the rest of the preseason with a sprained right thumb, which he injured Monday in the third quarter of a preseason game against the 49ers. … Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck will miss another week of practice as he continues recovering from a lower left leg injury. He last practiced July 28.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Cowboys-linebacker-Jaylon-Smith-agree-on-14365480.php.