OXNARD, Calif. -- Consider the length of left tackle Tyron Smith's contract a sign of his loyalty to the Jones family.
A strong case could be made that the 23-year-old Smith would have been better off signing a deal half as long as the eight-year extension that commits him to the Dallas Cowboys through 2023. A shorter extension would have allowed Smith to negotiate another deal when he was in the middle of his prime and after NFL inflation pushed up the price for premier left tackles.
This was explained to Smith by his agents. He opted to sign the deal offered to him in part because he felt a great sense of gratitude to owner/general manager Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones due to how they helped him deal with his family issues.
“The Jones family basically looked out for me through everything that’s happened in the past,” Smith said. “I just wanted to look out for them and get this deal done.”
During the 2012 season, Smith’s lawyer accused his parents of taking more than $1 million from him in addition to the money he agreed to give them from his rookie contract. The accusations occurred after the police were called to Smith’s home when three people, including two of Smith’s stepsisters, twice showed up at his home to “harass and torment” him in an attempt to get money, the police report said.
The Jones family helped Smith, who still has a protective order against his parents, throughout the ordeal. The manner in which Smith handled that situation impressed the Jones family.
“He’s shown his work ethic,” Jerry Jones said. “He’s shown his tenacity to be the best. Then he’s turned around and shown the maturity and the judgment of somebody twice his age or, in his case, three times his age, relative to how he handled some of his affairs.
“He’s really a profile of the way you’d like it to be in the NFL if you’re one of the most successful ones, and I would say at this juncture that he is.”
If Smith is truly a Cowboy for life, this will probably not be the final contract he signs with the team. But that’s not something Smith or the franchise needs to think about for another decade or so.
“I hope it’s 10 Pro Bowls later,” Stephen Jones said.
That sort of success for Smith, who made his first Pro Bowl last season, is certainly not out of the realm of possibility. If he plays at that level, he’s likely to be a relative bargain for the second half of his career.
That’s fine by him.
“I'm still going to be comfortable,” Smith said with a big smile on his face. “The contract means that I’m committed here. It makes me a Cowboy for life. I’m glad to be here, really blessed to be here right now.”