IRVING, Texas – In a span of just 24 hours, Tyrone Crawford went from an unsung star on the rise to big-money Cowboys player with big-time expectations.
That's the side effect of a five-year, $45 million contract extension – which Crawford signed on Saturday afternoon. The new deal keeps him on board through the 2020 season, and it also makes him one of the Cowboys' top five most expensive players.
If that sounds like a lot of extra pressure for the fourth-year pass rusher, Crawford disagreed. He certainly didn't play like a man under pressure against the Giants, as he finished Sunday night with three tackles, two tackles for loss, a quarterback hit and the Cowboys' only sack of the night.
"It doesn't put extra pressure – it kind of took pressure off," Crawford said. "I was never really a good player under pressure. I like playing with not a lot of pressure on my shoulders and just going out and having fun and playing like I played in college – going out there and trying to be dominant."
That's kind of a confusing sentiment at first. At an average of $9 million per season over the five-year deal, it's easy to assume there'd be an enormous amount of pressure on the 25-year-old's shoulders. After all, Crawford is now the second-highest paid defender on this team behind Brandon Carr – whose own hefty contract makes him one of the team's most scrutinized players.
None of that seemed to bother Crawford, whose reasoning for not feeling pressure was pretty straightforward.
"The contract stuff – it just feels good that they want me here, and I'm going to be here for five more years," he said.
Crawford enjoyed a standout night among the Cowboys' young defensive line, and the results were evident for the Dallas defense. The Giants tallied just 289 yards of offense, and their only touchdowns of the night came as a direct result of Dallas turnovers.
It was a promising start for the defense as a whole – not just its new franchise defensive tackle. But Crawford said there's still plenty to work on.
"It was an opening football game," he said. "All of us were just kind of getting back into the groove of the regular season. I feel like everybody did a good job, man – we've just got to fix some of the little wrinkles and then get it right."