The Dallas Cowboys locked in one of their key players to a contract extension on Tuesday. No, it wasn't Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, or Byron Jones.
Instead, it was stud linebacker Jaylon Smith, who inked a five-year, $65 million extension, in which $35.5 million is guaranteed. After the signing, Smith sent out an emotional tweet in regards to his journey from playing college ball at Notre Dame to the NFL with the Cowboys.
At the tail end of his final year with the Fighting Irish, Smith was projected to be a top-five pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. However, tragedy struck in the Fiesta Bowl, as Smith tore his ACL and MCL in his left knee.
As a result of the freak injury, Smith's draft stock plummeted, with many believing he'd never play a down in the NFL. The Cowboys held a high draft spot in the second round and decided to take a gamble on Smith, and it paid off big time.
Last season with the Cowboys, Smith recorded 121 tackles, four passes defensed, four sacks, and two forced fumbles. On top of that, he formed one of the league's most formidable linebacker tandems with Leighton Vander Esch.
Jaylon Smith may have lost out on huge money in the 2016 draft, but he got rewarded on Tuesday by the Cowboys for his perseverance and strong play.