Three Dallas Cowboys who have to put up or shut up in 2020

Jaylon Smith, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Jaylon Smith, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Jaylon Smith, Dallas Cowboys
Jaylon Smith, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Jaylon Smith

There we so many names to plug in and play here. Leighton Vander Esch. Sean Lee. Chidobe Awuzie comes to mind as well.

But I want to spotlight Jaylon Smith. He is entering his fifth year in the NFL (he sat in 2016). Since overcoming a grotesque injury in early 2016, Smith has traveled far and wide to overcome the odds. Now he is a proven professional with a new contract in tote.

Before the start of the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys handed Smith a $64 million contract deal spread over five years. The deal came with $35.5 million in guarantees. The deal makes him a Cowboy until the 2024 season, so now is the time to strike with Jaylon Smith.

The theme for Smith shifts. He can no longer live in the realm of America’s true comeback story. Sure, we all rooted for him and were amazed by the gamble overall. But Smith has shown flashes of an elite player. He can no longer thrive in an old narrative. He must push forward.

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In 2019, Smith registered 142 tackles in 16 games. He accumulated just 2.5 sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. In three seasons with the Cowboys, Smith has 344 tackles and seven and a half sacks. He has started 38 regular-season games.