IRVING, Texas –Sean Lissemore knows – hopes actually – that the Cowboys will be getting a bargain on the three-year contract extension they signed him to on Thursday.
But the defensive lineman wanted to ensure his future long before money became a factor that could work against him remaining with the team that drafted him in 2010. His new deal will keep him with the Cowboys through the 2016 season, when he will be eligible to cash in an even bigger contract at age 29.
"I want to be in Dallas," Lissemore said. "It's something that we had been working on for a little bit here. It's something I wanted to get done. I didn't want to be a distraction when I'm out here playing the season and stuff, and we just got it done and I'm happy it's done.
"I like it here, I like playing for this team, and I think it was a good opportunity for me, so that's why I went ahead and did it."
Lissemore is guaranteed $3.1 million, and could make close to $10 million with incentives. He has yet to start a game, but is seeing a playing time boost this year because of his production and versatility to play defensive tackle or nose tackle in the 3-4 base as well as rush the passer from the inside on nickel downs.
A former seventh-round pick who has received flattering comparisons to Jay Ratliff over his first two years, Lissemore had 39 total tackles in 2011, his first full season, registering a pair of sacks, two tackles for loss and five quarterback pressures.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan only found out about the contract extension on Friday, when asked by a reporter, calling it "great news."
"Sean Lissemore is one hell of a football player," Ryan said. "Could he start for us? Sure he could. But I love him as the John Havlicek to come in there, he backs up everybody … He does everything well. The guy, every position you put him in, he does well. He's a pro, he studies the game, but he's getting better and better."
Lissemore, who has been renting a home in Dallas since being drafted out of William & Mary, said he doesn't have any big purchases planned in his near future and is happy with his current living arrangement, but did have long-term security on his mind. Now that he has some peace of mind, though, he promises he won't change much.
"I'm actually going to work harder," Lissemore said.
That statement would come as no surprise to head coach Jason Garrett, who had praised Lissemore earlier Friday.
"He's the right kind of guy," Garrett said. "We certainly love his work ethic and what he brings to our team."