OXNARD, Calif. — Not much has gone right with the Jason Garrett era. He has an overall 29-27 mark and three consecutive 8-8 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.But there is no denying Garrett has tried to do the right thing the right way, starting with his first draft pick when he officially took over as head coach in 2011.As far as starters are concerned, Garrett knocked it out of the park with the selection of tackle Tyron Smith with the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.Smith has been everything the Cowboys anticipated. On Wednesday, they rewarded him with an eight-year contract extension, worth $97.6 million, making him the league’s highest paid offensive tackle, with an average of $12.2 million a year.Add the final two years of his rookie deal and Smith’s package is worth $109.7 million, including a $10 million signing bonus and $40 million in guaranteed money.It’s the biggest contract in franchise history for a non-quarterback and one that keeps Smith, who doesn’t turn 24 until December, in a Cowboys uniform until 2023.It’s fitting for Garrett, who calls Smith a cornerstone player for the franchise, one that they targeted from the beginning. The Cowboys hadn’t drafted an offensive lineman in the first round since 1981.“He’s just been everything we’ve wanted to build this program and this team around,” Garrett said.Smith, in his fourth year out of USC, is coming off the best season of his career. He allowed just one sack and made the Pro Bowl for the first time. He played right tackle as a rookie before moving to left tackle in 2012. He has started 47 of 48 games since his rookie season.The Cowboys have been talking with his agent since spring about an extension, hoping to get one done before the start of the season. Smith said things came together late last week as he weighed the options of a long-term or short-term deal.“It’s great to get it done right now and not have to worry about it at all,” Smith said.Brent eyes returnFormer Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent has been released from court-ordered rehab, completing all the terms of his sentence following an intoxication manslaughter conviction in the death of teammate Jerry Brown.Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Wednesday that Brent is preparing paperwork for a possible return to the NFL.“He’s gotten his court work done,” Jerry Jones said. “Then it’s my understanding the next step is for him to apply to be able to play again in the NFL.”Brent, who filed his retirement papers last July, must also meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to see if there will be any additional punishment in adherence to the league’s personal conduct policy. Jones said Brent should have things in order before training camp ends on Aug. 15.Brent, 26, was sentenced to 10 years probation and 180 days in jail. He was released from jail June 15 to finish the remainder of his sentence in a substance abuse center.“After talking with his counselors and talking to Jerry Brown’s family, [Brent] is in a good place to resume his career,” Peter Schaefer, Brent’s agent, said. “He has applied for reinstatement to the NFL.” Schaefer said Brent has been working out in preparation for a possible return.
Clarence E. Hill Jr. 817-390-7760 Twitter: @clarencehilljr