Michael Gehken notes that the Cowboys officially guaranteed $7.2 million of LB Jaylon Smith‘s 2021 base salary on Sunday while RB Ezekiel Elliott‘s 2022 salary of $12.4 million has become fully guaranteed.
There had been some speculation this offseason about Smith possibly being a post-June 1 release candidate. However, there were no serious indications from the Cowboys that this was something they were actually considering.
Smith struggled in 2020 but Clarence Hill previously mentioned that the coaching staff is optimistic he’ll be much better in the new defensive scheme in 2021.
Smith, 25, was a second-round pick by the Cowboys out of Notre Dame in the 2016 NFL Draft. He signed a four-year, $6,494,970 rookie contract.
Smith was headed into his fourth season when he signed a five-year, $64 million extension in 2019.
In 2020, Smith appeared in all 16 games for the Cowboys and recorded 154 total tackles, five tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, one interception and five pass defenses. Pro Football Focus rated him as the No. 45 overall linebacker out of 83 qualifiers.
Elliott, 25, was taken with the No. 4 overall pick by the Cowboys back in 2016. He signed four-year rookie contract worth $24,956,342, which included a signing bonus of $16,350,068.
Elliott was set to make a base salary of $3.85 million for the 2019 season and another $9.1 million in 2020 under the fifth-year option when he elected to hold out for a new deal in 2019. Dallas eventually re-signed him to a six-year, $90 million extension that included $50 million guaranteed.
In 2020, Elliott appeared in 15 games for the Cowboys and rushed for 979 yards on 244 carries (4 YPC) to go along with 52 receptions for 338 yards receiving and eight total touchdowns.