After a slow start, the Dallas Cowboys are finally getting their 2016 draft picks under contract. They started a couple of days ago with the signings of Ezekiel Elliott, Anthony Brown, Darius Jackson and Kavon Frazier. Today, they added a couple more to the list. Second-round pick Jaylon Smith and sixth-round pick Rico Gathers both have officially become Cowboys by agreeing to contracts today.
The signing of rookies is much easier under the new collective bargaining agreement that basically slots rookie contract values, making the holdouts and heavy negotiations a thing of the past. Still, there are minor details that teams still work out with these contracts, and the Cowboys are slow on this process intentionally. Stephen Jones explains:
"We wanted to take a look at how things are going this year. There's been a few little changes, details of the contracts that probably don't mean a lot to anybody other than us. We just wanted to see how a lot of teams are doing them, felt like this might be a year where we slow down a little bit, see how everybody's doing their contracts. Then make a few notes and we'll get these guys signed.
"But we won't have any issues. They're all great guys represented by really good people and we'll get them done."
Jaylon Smith's contract should be similar to the contract for last year's #34 pick, Donovan Smith, an offensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That was a four-year deal for $6.1 million. Of course, we're all waiting for Smith to recover from his knee injury. Whether he plays this year is still up in the air, but the smart money is probably on a full year out of football and a return in 2017.
With the signing of Smith and Gathers, the Cowboys still have three more picks to get under contract. Maliek Collins, Charles Tapper and Dak Prescott.