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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Jaylon Smith, Cowboys agree to long-term contract extension

Jaylon Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have been unable to reach an agreement on a new deal with Ezekiel Elliott as the star running back continues to hold out, but that is not stopping them from spending money elsewhere.

The Cowboys agreed to a long-term contract extension on Tuesday with linebacker Jaylon Smith, as Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network first reported. The former Notre Dame star was entering the final year of his rookie contract and was scheduled to become a restricted free agent following the 2019 season.

Smith has become one of the best stories in the NFL over the past two years after he did not play at all in his rookie season in 2016. He suffered two torn ligaments and nerve damage in his knee while playing in the Fiesta Bowl prior to being drafted, and some wondered if he would ever be able to play in the NFL. The Cowboys decided to spend a second-round pick on him anyway, and the risk has paid off.

Smith had an outstanding season in 2018 with 121 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles. He was openly upset about not being named to the Pro Bowl, and he had a right to be. Assuming he can remain healthy, he will be a centerpiece of the Dallas defense for years to come.

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