During the bye week the Jacksonville Jaguars secured one of their young stars, handing Telvin Smith a four year contract extension worth $44 million. It was a long deserved contract for Smith, who many including myself, weren’t sure if the Jaguars would re-sign. It wasn’t that Smith wasn’t worth re-signing, he absolutely is, but the teams that general manager Dave Caldwell cut his teeth with never valued weakside linebackers. Thankfully, either VP of football operations Tom Coughlin or Caldwell didn’t agree with that method and locked Smith up for the next four seasons.
“It is more stressful right now then having to deal with it when I actually had to go through signing it,” Smith said on Monday when he was asked if he was relieved to get the deal over with.
For those who aren’t familiar with Smith, that quote might seem rather peculiar, but that is a Telvin Smith quote through and through. Prior to the start of the season Smith didn’t want to talk about an upcoming contract, entering the final year of his rookie deal, he just wanted to talk about football. Now after his deal is done, Smith holds the same mentality.
“Because we are talking about it. Let’s talk about ball. Let’s talk about ball,” Smith said with a big smile when he was asked why it was more stressful now that he signed a new deal. “Money is money. I got paid. I’m grateful to the organization. I am happy for my family. Everyone who played a part in it, I am happy for. It is just another step in life. I have been here and now I just have a bigger bank account to say I am here.”
Smith is in his fourth season with the Jaguars, after being selected in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and is on track to have his best season in the NFL. During his early years in the NFL, Smith was always a good player that flashed big play ability, but so far in the 2017 season that playmaking has been more consistent. Through seven games, Smith is just 1.5 sacks off his career high and has already matched his career high in interceptions with two. It’s not just coverage that Smith has excelled at in 2017, but his ability to make plays in the run game, despite his size, has been a big key for the Jaguars defense.
Sure the run defense hasn’t been good through the first seven weeks of the season, but Smith has made plays in the run game, fighting through traffic and knifing in to make plays in the backfield and blow up runs before they get started. Locking up the heart of the defense for the next four seasons helps ensure that the Jaguars defense will have playmakers for years to come.
“I earned it. Why do I have to talk about what you earn? You feel me,” Smith asked. “It is done.”