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Eatman: Jaylon Wasn't Missing Out This Time


FRISCO, Texas – We've all seen our share of game shows over the years.

It's pretty much a dilemma that every contestant has to make at some point in their game, whether it's Wheel of Fortune, Price is Right and especially, Deal or No Deal.

Actually, in this case, Who Wants to be a Millionaire is more appropriate here since we're talking about millions of dollars – 64 of them to be exact.

But in every game show game, and sometimes in real life, a person has to decide when to keep going, and when to take the deal.

For Jaylon Smith, it was time to take the deal.

He's already bet on himself once, betting that he wouldn't get hurt for the first time in his career, so he can finish out his magnificent career at Notre Dame as the team captain and surefire Top 5 pick in the upcoming draft. We all know what happened as he suffered not just a knee injury, but one that affect his nerves and threatened his future so significantly that he dropped from one of the first picks to 34th overall in the second round when the Cowboys took him.

If you ask Jaylon, he knows the exact dollar amount that he lost in falling that far in the draft – somewhere in the neighborhood of about $17 million.

So the next time the money train came around, you best believe Smith was going to get on it. And I applaud him for it, even though he probably passed up more dollars down the road.

Here's the part in the article where I need to put this all into perspective. No one in the "real world" is feeling sorry for a guy that is now making $12.8 million a season for taking less money. Yeah, I get it, we all get it, that isn't real money for the rest of us.

But when you consider the fact that C.J. Mosely is getting $17 million per season and Seattle's Bobby Wagner is setting the market at $18 million, you would think that Smith could be in that range if not higher, if he has a Pro Bowl season in 2019.

But then again, who is to say that the Cowboys could and would give Smith that much money. I think that's a question Smith even wondered as well, which is another reason why he took the deal.

This has more layers than a guy who has already lost out on a huge contract. This is also about being the first to the table when it's time to eat. If you do that, you're not going to miss out on the meal. You might not get seconds, but at least you get to eat.

And that had to factor into this decision for Jaylon, who is certainly savvy enough in his business ventures to know that the Cowboys are going to be paying Dak, Cooper and Zeke here before too long. Who knows if Byron Jones and Maliek Collins will be down the road as well.

But Smith not only got to the table first, but locked himself up with the one organization he admired as a kid, for the next seven years.

Smith doesn't just see dollar amounts, but knows the importance of his own brand. And who better to partner with than the Cowboys, one of the most recognizable sports franchises in the world.

So, while he might not be the No. 1 linebacker in the NFL in terms of contract, Smith thinks he can more than make up for that by being linked with the Cowboys.

He's not wrong.

Oh and if there's another good thing working for Smith in this whole deal, the timing of the contract certainly doesn't hurt his overall perception with the fans. Doing something, that works for both him and the team, when three other guys aren't doing it yet, only looks good for Smith, who now can solely focus on football here for the next half-decade.

This is one of those rare win-win-win-BIG win situations. And it was a situation that Smith was going to let pass him by this time around.

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