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Jaylon Smith signs rookie deal with Dallas Cowboys

One of the more heartwarming moments of the NFL draft became official Friday morning when Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith signed his rookie deal, the team announced.

The news signifies a key moment in the first chapter of Smith's NFL career. The rest is very much a mystery.

Smith, 20, was a projected top-five pick before sustaining ACL and LCL tears and nerve damage in a Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State. The Cowboys took Smith with the No. 34 overall pick -- an emotional moment for the versatile linebacker, who was expected to fall much further -- despite not knowing if he will play this year. Owner Jerry Jones already said he would not place Smith on season-ending injured reserve in case he can help the team in the playoffs.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source involved in the deal, that the four-year deal has a $2.9 million signing bonus. He received the standard rookie contract even with his injury, Rapoport added.

With Smith in the fold alongside Sean Lee and Rolando McClain, Dallas could have one of the most dynamic linebacking corps in the league. That, however, is a long way from happening and would involve a serendipitous streak for Jones, who has yet to see the full potential of that unit thanks to injury and suspension.

Smith, like Myles Jack in Jacksonville, will be closely watched. The draft could have been one of the strongest in years at the linebacker position. We just have to wait a little longer to find out how good.

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