Tablet Sports

Cowboys sign kicker Bailey to 7-year deal

The Dallas Cowboys have signed kicker Dan Bailey to a new seven-year deal through 2020.

Bailey, 26, was set to be a restricted free agent, but the Cowboys never intended for him to hit the market.

Vice president Stephen Jones said on Wednesday that the sides were close to a new deal. The team announced the long-term extension Thursday.

The deal is worth $22.5 million and includes $7.5 million guaranteed. Bailey also received a $4 million signing bonus.

Bailey signed with Dallas as an unrestricted free agent out of Oklahoma State following the 2011 NFL Draft.

In three seasons with Dallas, Bailey has converted 90.8 percent of his field goals (89 of 98) and all 123 of his extra points, becoming one of the best and most reliable kickers in the league.

Bailey’s 89 made field goals are second-most in team history, while his 90.8 field-goal percentage is the best ever for a Cowboys kicker.

Bailey has made eight game-winning field goals, the most in team history.

As a restricted free agent, Bailey likely was going to receive the second-round tender offer of $2.124 million. The new deal surpasses that in average per season, but the length of the contract helps keep the money down so it likely will give him a lower cap figure in 2014 to help the Cowboys sign other players.

Hageman’s character

University of Minnesota defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman said the Dallas Cowboys, like every team, asked him about character at the Senior Bowl. In high school and college, Hageman had a reputation for angry outbursts.

“That’s just part of the résumé,” he said. “They ask what type of character you are on and off the field. They obviously check your background to see if that’s consistent. I definitely had my flaws when I was younger, but I feel like I definitely matured to get where I am.”

Asked if the Cowboys interviewed him, he said, “I’ve talked to the Cowboys. I feel like we talked it out. But at the end of the day, I’m down with any team. I want to win, and so does any team that chooses me.”

Cousin vs. Cowboys

Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews, who set an SEC record for catches in a season, is a cousin of Jerry Rice.

He said that before games he gets himself ready to play by watching YouTube highlights of his Hall of Fame relative.

“You can find all sorts of clips, almost full games of him playing the Cowboys and stuff,” Matthews said. “I just watch his demeanor throughout the game, his intangibles — stuff like that.”

Romo connection

Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said it does not take long to realize Tony Romo came out of his school.

“That’s kind of Eastern’s claim to fame, that Romo went there,” he said. “There’s a huge shrine of him all over the school. It’s a great connection to have.”

Garoppolo, the MVP of the East-West Shrine game, was a late addition to the Senior Bowl roster.

Bryant connection

Texas receiver Mike Davis said Dez Bryant’s adviser, David Wells, has also taken him under his wing as he has gotten ready for the NFL.

“He’s a guy I talk to a lot,” Davis said. “I go over there and talk to him and Dez all the time.”

Davis, from Dallas Skyline, led the Longhorns in receiving this year and left as the school’s fourth-ranked receiver in catches and yards. He drew praise as one of the best receivers at the Senior Bowl behind Matthews.

Clarence E. Hill Jr. contributed to this report.