The biggest storyline for the Cowboys this offseason has been the contract status of some of the most notable figures in their organization. Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, WR Amari Cooper, HC Jason Garrett and LB Jaylon Smith were all entering the final year of their deal in 2019, while RB Ezekiel Elliott has held out all camp in search of an extension. On Tuesday, the first domino fell for the Cowboys as they signed Smith to a long-term extension.
“This is a contract story right here,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said via the Athletic’s Jon Machota. “Y’all been badgering my ass to get a contract done for the last three weeks. Well, this is a contract story.”
Smith signed despite having an effective two more years of team control, as he was set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2020. He took a deal that still puts him in the top five at his position, but falls well short of the $18 million average per year bar Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner set this summer.
Jones’ message is clear with that deal, as negotiations with other Cowboys stars have stalled as the two sides haggle over the difference between being the highest-paid at one position versus being in the top-five.
“The team takes precedent at a point over the opinion or the demand of the individual,” Jones continued. “The team takes precedent. This was a team move we are talking about today. The team takes precedent. And I’ve got the backbone to keep it that way.”
Smith had a little extra incentive to take a more team-friendly deal. Dallas took him with the No. 34 overall pick in the second round despite a severe knee injury in his final collegiate game that some doctors said would be career-ending.
“You took a risk,” Smith told Jones and Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones. “A $4.5 million risk had I never been able to play again. So me understanding that, it was my duty for them to get their return on their investment. They’ve been able to do that. Now, I’m fortunate enough to really be a Cowboy for life, which is what I wanted.”
According to Pro Football Talk, Smith’s deal is a six-year extension from the end of his rookie deal that includes a $5 million signing bonus, $19 million guaranteed at signing and an additional $16.4 million guaranteed for injuries. There’s also a $500,000 de-escalator each year if he doesn’t participate in 90 percent of the offseason workout program.
- 2019: $835,678 fully guaranteed base salary.
- 2020: $8 million fully guaranteed option bonus on the fifth day of the league year, $5.171 million fully guaranteed base salary.
- 2021: $7.2 million base salary guaranteed for injury and fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the league year.
- 2022: $9.2 million base salary guaranteed for injury and fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the league year.
- 2023: $11 million base salary.
- 2024: $11 million base salary.
- 2025: $12.35 million base salary.
Eagles QB Carson Wentz (back) said he will be ready for Week 1 of the regular season after missing both of the team’s preseason games so far. Wentz added he’s “not worried” about playing this preseason and isn’t concerned about experiencing his first hit until the regular season.
“I’m really not worried about it, to be honest,” Wentz said via the team’s official site. “Every year, coming in, it’s always going to be that first hit, no matter if it’s three months off, six months off, 10 months, 12 months. It doesn’t really matter. That first hit wakes you up real quick and it’s football mode again.”
- Per Adam Caplan, Eagles QB Josh McCown‘s one-year, $2 million deal includes a $1.7 million fully-guaranteed base salary, a $300,000 signing bonus and a total of $3.4 million in playing-time incentives.
- The Eagles announced Wednesday that TE Richard Rodgers is out for multiple weeks with a foot injury.
- Browns WR Odell Beckham claimed the Giants turned down a better offer to send him to Cleveland.
- However, NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo says the only other offer on the table for Beckham was from the 49ers and it centered around swapping the team’s first-round picks. San Francisco picked No. 2 and New York No. 6 in this past draft.
- Cleveland gave up the No. 17 overall pick, a third-round pick, G Kevin Zeitler, and S Jabrill Peppers for Beckham and DE Olivier Vernon.
- Giants WR Da’Mari Scott requested his release to seek better opportunities, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.
The race to be the Redskins starting quarterback in Week 1 is down to veteran Case Keenum and first-round rookie Dwayne Haskins after Colt McCoy‘s recovery from a late-season leg injury continues to progress slowly.
While all reports have Keenum with the leg up on Haskins, Redskins HC Jay Gruden will likely wait until after the third preseason game to make an official announcement.
“There’s no rush to name a starter right now,” Gruden said via Pro Football Talk. “I think it’s important to let these guys go out and play and continue to compete. We’ll continue to let them play and see what happens Thursday.”