Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Tuesday that the extension is for five years and is worth $64 million, including $35.5 million guaranteed. Smith is now under contract through the 2024 season.
Smith was set to be a restricted free agent after the season. The linebacker missed his entire rookie season due to a devastating knee injury suffered in his college bowl game while at Notre Dame.
Despite the injury, the Cowboys took a calculated risk selecting the playmaking linebacker in the second round of the 2016 draft, betting the would-be first-rounder would pay off down the line.
"You took a risk, a $4.5 million risk had I never been able to play again," Smith said to the Jones during a press conference on Tuesday. "Me understanding that, it was my duty for them to get their return on their investment. They've been able to do that, and now I'm fortunate enough to really be a Cowboy for life, which is what I wanted."
Fully healthy, Smith proved to be one of the best sideline-to-sideline linebacking playmakers in the league last season, starting 16 games and compiling 121 tackles, four sacks, four passes defended and two forced fumbles. A stout run defender with speed to keep up with tight ends and running backs in space, Smith is the ideal linebacker in the modern NFL.
"It is neat that Jaylon understands that when you have a solid roster, you have as many high quality young players as we have, you have to allocate your resources wisely to keep and have all of those players," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday. "You have to do that. That's called team building. And I will assure you this was about team."
Asked whether there is enough "pie" left over in Dallas for Prescott, Elliott and the rest to get their new deals, Jones said, "The reason there is pie left is because we have kept some left. That's why there's pie left. And that's why we're gonna be where we are because we want to have some pie left, for others.
"There's less pie left, make no bones about it."
"Would it be better if we can get one of the players done (before the season) than to not have any done of the ones you're talking about? The answer is yes," Jones said last Tuesday. "What may surprise you is we may come up with one that you haven't been asking about."