Safety Barry Church started three games at strong safety this season before going on injured reserve with a torn Achilles'. The Cowboys obviously liked what they saw from Church, who made eight tackles and a fumble recovery and broke up two passes. They rewarded him with a four-year contract extension Friday that includes a $2.5 million signing bonus and $3.9 million in guaranteed money.
Church was in the final of a three-year deal he signed as a rookie free agent and made a base salary of $400,000 in 2012. He would have been a restricted free agent at season's end.
Defensive coordiantor Rob Ryan said Church is a future star and the deal was well deserved.
"That’s awesome, this guy and all you guys saw it, he’s going to be a superstar in this league," Ryan said. "You get a guy early, and he comes out of that injury healthy and this guy is going to be a fantastic safety so it’s real unfortunate, I think I shed a few tears on that one when we lost him for the year. I think it’s one of those things you do have to get over, but it’s fantastic for the cowboys organization and hopefully I can be apart of his career for a long time."
Danny McCray has taken Church's spot in the starting lineup alongside Gerald Sensabaugh.
"It's congratulations to Barry," Sensabaugh said. "It's well earned. I'm glad to see him get it. We were talking about it. They've been back and forth for a little bit now. If they get comfortable with it, go ahead and get it knocked out and be a Cowboy for a long time. It's good to see him get that done.
"He knows the system. He's a heck of a player. Danny McCray is doing a good job too."
-- Charean Williams