Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys extend Jaylon Smith, not Ezekiel Elliott

With three other big contract situations looming, the Dallas Cowboys are ready to announce a new deal for linebacker Jaylon Smith.

The Dallas Cowboys have announced a Tuesday press conference where a contract extension will be made official and public. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network and others, it’s linebacker Jaylon Smith who’s getting a new deal, with terms not yet disclosed.

Prior to a major knee injury in his final collegiate game at Notre Dame, Smith was a projected top-five pick in the 2016 draft. The Cowboys took a risk on him in the second round, at No. 34 overall, waited for Smith as he sat out his rookie season and saw him have a breakout campaign as an every down player last year (121 total tackles, four sacks). Now, at still just 24 years old, he’s lined up to be a key piece of the Dallas defense for years to come.

Smith had been mentioned as a future contract extension candidate all offseason. But Dallas has him under control as a restricted free agent in 2020, and the idea seemed to fall to the back burner with other, more prominent deals in front of the team. Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper are all in line for new contracts, and that offensive trio has dominated the headlines.

Particularly with Elliott holding out and Prescott in line for a deal between $30 and $40 million per season in average value, the Cowboys have taken a path of least resistance by getting a deal done with Smith. Owner Jerry Jones did hint last week at the idea of a new deal coming for someone outside of Elliott, Prescott and Cooper, so the announcement of an agreement with Smith isn’t completely out of left field.

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Elliott and his agent apparently weren’t happy with Jones’ “‘Zeke who?” comment from over the weekend. Now they’re surely even less thrilled about someone else getting a new contract, with the same number of controllable years remaining to boot (leaving aside the idea of franchise tagging Elliott in 2021).

From the Cowboys side, the deal with Smith might work as a tactic to get Elliott back with the team if he wants his own new deal.

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