The Dallas Cowboys locked up Tony Romo’s blindside protector for years to come.
Tyron Smith reached an agreement with the team on an eight-year, $98 million extension, FOX Sports 1’s NFL insider Mike Garafolo reported Wednesday. The deal averages out to $12.2 million a year. Smith gets a $10 million signing bonus and $40 million in guaranteed money.
Smith becomes the second player selected in the 2011 NFL Draft to get a long-term extension — Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson inked a five-year extension Tuesday night.
Smith, 23, is widely considered among the best young offensive tackles in the league. He earned a Pro Bowl bid in 2013.
In a statement through his marketing agency, Smith said the Cowboys approached him with what is a cap-friendly deal for the franchise, and the lineman asked his agents to weigh the pros and cons of signing it.
Smith said part of his reasoning was rewarding owner Jerry Jones for standing by him during a difficult time that included Smith’s lawyer accusing the player’s parents of taking money from him after he had set up a way to give them a portion of his rookie contract.
"I am beyond grateful for the Cowboys staff, my teammates and the fans and wanted to ensure I was locked in as a `Cowboy for Life,’ " Smith said.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the Cowboys wanted to make Smith the highest-paid left tackle in the NFL, which he said was accomplished through a $12.2 million average for the eight-year extension.
"Tyron deserves it," Jones said. "He’s 23 years old, and it may be the first 10-year deal I’ve ever done in football where I think the guy will be playing in the last year of his contract."
Smith has started all 47 games he has played, having missed one game with a sprained ankle in 2012. He played right tackle as a rookie before moving to the left side.
"He’s just been everything we wanted to build this program and this team around," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "He was a really young player we put in really in minute one of day one. He’s everything we thought he was going to be, physically and intangibly and just as a person. His work ethic is fantastic."
Smith became the first-round model in three of four drafts for the Cowboys — proven players from major college programs.
They took center Travis Frederick from Wisconsin late in the first round last year after trading down and grabbed right guard Zack Martin out of Notre Dame in the middle of the first round this year.
"On draft day, you’re optimistic about the players you take, particularly that high in the draft, but when you see them develop as quickly as he has into the kind of leader and the player you want, not only for your team but your program, it’s really satisfying," Garrett said. "He’s a cornerstone player in this franchise."