Jaylon Smith and the Dallas Cowboys reached a rookie contract agreement on Friday.
The Notre Dame linebacker and second-round pick posted on his Twitter account that he had “been dreaming of this moment my entire life” with a picture of him signing the deal. The deal is worth $6.494 million with a $2.9 million signing bonus.
The Cowboys are rolling the dice on Smith, who is not expected to play in 2016. He tore his anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee during the Fiesta Bowl in January, and has been diagnosed with damage to his peroneal nerve. That nerve must fully re-generate before Smith can return to the field.
But the Cowboys feel comfortable with what lies ahead for Smith, considering one of their physicians, Dan Cooper, performed the surgery.
Smith and owner Jerry Jones wouldn’t rule out him playing at some point this season, but that seems unlikely given the nature of his injury.
If he hadn’t suffered an injury, Smith had been projected as a top-10 pick in the draft. The Cowboys surely would have given him consideration with the fourth overall pick, which they used to draft Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott.
But the Cowboys felt good enough about Smith to use the 34th overall pick on him in the second round, believing he has the potential to become a cornerstone player in the future.
The Cowboys also signed sixth-round pick Rico Gathers, the former Baylor basketball standout who is transitioning to NFL tight end.
On Wednesday, the Cowboys announced the signings of Elliott and sixth-round picks Anthony Brown, Kavon Frazier and Darius Jackson.
Only three draft picks remain unsigned -- third-round defensive tackle Maliek Collins, fourth-round defensive end Charles Tapper and fourth-round quarterback Dak Prescott.