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Stephen Jones: Tyron Smith Deserved to Be the Highest-Paid Left Tackle

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Tyron Smith #77 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on August 25, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    As news of Tyron Smith's new mega-deal with the Cowboys was announced Tuesday morning, Jason Garrett took the podium at his daily press conference in Oxnard. And as you would expect, the Cowboys head coach was ecstatic about locking up one of the most talented left tackles in football.

    "He's just been everything we've wanted to build this program and this team around," Garrett said. "His work ethic is fantastic, his mental and physical toughness is as good as I've been around, and he just continues to grow and develop as a player."

    Later in the day, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones took it a step further.

    "There was one thing that wasn't an argument," Jones said to reporters in Oxnard Wednesday afternoon. "We thought based on his skill and based on his age, Tyron deserved to be the highest paid left tackle."

    One of the reasons the Cowboys were willing to give Smith the biggest contract for an offensive lineman in the NFL was his age. A 2011 first round pick, at 23-years old, Smith is younger than the two offensive linemen the Cowboys have taken in the 2013 and 2014 NFL Drafts.

    "I think this may be the first ten-year deal I've done in football where I really think the guy will be playing in the last year of his contract," Jones said.

    The deal Smith signed is an eight-year extension, with the total value at just under $110 million, nearly $30 million more than the next highest paid tackle in the NFL. Smith also has $40 million guaranteed in the deal, including a $10 million signing bonus.

    "He's a really young player we put (on the field) really on minute one of day one, and he's been everything we thought he was going to be, both physically, tangibly, and as a person," said Garrett. "He's still a young man, but he's played a lot of football for us already."

    And Smith's youth has the Cowboys believing he can get even better than his Pro Bowl performance of 2013.

    "Technically, he's getting better, he's getting bigger and stronger, and he's just tough and competitive," Garrett said. "He's who you want on your football team in a really, really important position."

    When asked if making Smith the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL was a goal in the negotiations, Jones remarked, "I think that is what it was going to take to sign him," and that both sides walked away satisfied with the deal.

    "We were able to get something done that works for everybody."