Jaylon Smith has big goals, including finishing his career with Cowboys

Charean Williams
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Tuesday indicated the Cowboys need “team-friendly” deals from Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper to have enough room to keep their core together.

The Cowboys have several starters whose deals expire after 2020 or 2021.

One of those is middle linebacker Jaylon Smith.

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Smith will become a restricted free agent after this season, having missed his entire rookie year with the devastating knee injury that finished his Notre Dame career. The Cowboys drafted him in the second round in 2016, getting a bargain as a result of the knee injury.

“I want to be a Cowboy. I want to be a Cowboy for the rest of my life,” Smith said Wednesday, via Jon Machota of TheAthletic.com. “Understanding what they’ve done for me, taking a chance, taking a risk. Now they’re getting the return on their investment. It’s a beautiful thing to be a Dallas Cowboy.”

Smith, 24, has yet to make a Pro Bowl, but he had a case last season. He made 121 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles.

More than three years removed from the knee injury that threatened his career, Smith continues to ascend.

“This is just the beginning,” Smith said. “I’m never satisfied. Everyone is dealt their own hand, it’s about how you respond. For me, the knee is great.”

Smith’s knee was bothering him after the preseason game, but he practiced Tuesday and is expected to practice Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m great,” Smith said. “They wanted to give me a little time off to be able to rest and heal up.”

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