IRVING, Texas –Defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford will begin the 2015 season with long-term security.
Crawford and the Cowboys have agreed to a five-year contract extension, which Crawford himself announced via Twitter:
According to several reports, the deal is worth a total of $45 million with $27 million in guarantees, and it finalizes talks that began before training camp and inched closer at the end of the week.
Friday after practice, Crawford was hopeful a deal could get done.
"I think everybody knows how much I love Dallas, love this team, love the organization and love the ownership," he said.
Crawford had a year remaining on his four-year rookie contract, which included a base salary of $675,000 and a $828,813 salary cap number for 2015. The Cowboys selected him in the third round of the 2012 draft out of Boise State.
Extending Crawford has been a priority for the Cowboys' front office. They view him as a breakout player on the defensive line after he thrived last year in his position switch from end to tackle, posting career highs in tackles (33), sacks (3), tackles for loss (4) and quarterback pressures (29).
Asked about a potential deal on Friday afternoon, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones was complimentary of the 25-year-old, calling him a model for the type of player he'd like to represent the Cowboys.
"He represents everything we want to wear the Star," Jones said. "He's a really solid player on the field and plays the way we want to play the game, and a better guy off the field. We're working hard to ensure that he'll be here."
Last week at the Cowboys' season kickoff luncheon, Crawford's teammates voted him the Ed Block Courage Award winner for his successful return from a season-ending Achilles injury in 2013.
Although the franchise tag eventually could have been an option in the winter for an impending unrestricted free agent such as Crawford, the Cowboys had clearly seen enough from Crawford on and off the field to move forward with an extension before his rookie deal ended. And Crawford clearly wanted to get a deal done that secured his future in Dallas.
"I think a lot of what jumps out about Tyrone to me is just the kind of guy he is and how that reflects in his play," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said earlier this week. "He's a relentless guy. He wants to be a really, really good football player. In everything he does, he works that way. That is clear by his play in games, but more clear to us by how he works every day in practice.
"He's talented guy. He's quick. He's strong. He's explosive. I think he's playing technically better and better every day, but more than anything else he just has a relentless nature about him and it shows up every minute of every day. The best players I've been around have that same kind of mentality and that same kind of demeanor in everything they do."
With Crawford now under contract for the foreseeable future, the Cowboys have an anchor at one of the most important positions in Rod Marinelli's defensive scheme -- the three-technique defensive tackle. Alongside recent draft picks Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys have a talented young corps of pass rushers in place in the years to come.