The five-year deal is worth $64 million with $35.5 million guaranteed, executive vice president Stephen Jones said during a press conference.
“I wanted to be a part of the most prestigious brand in the world,” Smith said at the press conference. “Eventually, I’m going to be a captain for the Dallas Cowboys.”
The contract extension is the latest success for Smith, who was drafted by the Cowboys in the 2016 second round after he suffered a devastating knee injury, including ligament tears and nerve damage, in a bowl game while at Notre Dame.
He sat out all of 2016, made 81 tackles in 2017 while making six starts and then started every game last season with 121 tackles, including six for loss and four sacks. He also forced two fumbles.
“He has never complained, never quivered, never missed a workout and he’s never quit,” owner Jerry Jones said during the press conference.
Smith, 24, would have been a restricted free agent after this season. He and second-year pro Leighton Vander Esch, 23, give the Cowboys a strong, young core at linebacker.
Smith’s extension comes amid much attention on the contract status of the team’s Big 3 on offense — running back Ezekiel Elliott, quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper.
Stephen Jones said he is “very confident” the club can sign the trio. He said there is enough money left to sign all three.
“Our doors are always open for business,” Stephen Jones said.
Elliott is holding out of training camp with two years left on his deal. Prescott reportedly turned down a $30 million per year extension and is seeking a contract worth $40 million per year. Cooper is playing in the final year of his rookie contract at $13.9 million.
Cooper isn’t holding out, but he hasn’t played in the preseason because of a heel injury, and he is likely to skip the final two games before the season-opener, ESPN reported Tuesday.
Smith is hoping the threesome will soon be landing their own new deals.
“They’re my brothers. I love them. I want to be teammates with them,” Smith said.
Also on Tuesday, the Cowboys moved defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford off the physically unable to perform list, allowing both to participate in individual drills at practice.
Lawrence, recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, signed a five-year, $105 million contract that includes $65 million in guarantees in the offseason. Crawford has been working his way back from hip surgery.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)