Cowboys plan to release LB Jaylon Smith

Linebacker Jaylon Smith’s days with the Dallas Cowboys are drawing to a close.

Dallas plans to release Smith, but that decision won’t become official until Wednesday, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported. There is still a chance that Smith will be traded, but that is unlikely to happen, Garafolo added.

The team then announced their intention to free Smith.

ESPN first reported the news.

Once the darling of the Dallas D who signed a five-year, $ 64 million extension before the 2019 season, Smith has become the odd man of the Cowboys linebacker body, having started two of the team’s four games in 2021.

As time is running out on Smith’s official exit, Garafolo reports that a trade is unlikely due to the fifth-year player’s contract, the balance of his base salary of $ 7.2 million for that year and $ 9.2 million in personal injury guarantees next year serving as a costly deterrent to potential suitors. The decision to release Smith now is a bit confusing considering his guaranteed salary for this season, which could have been canceled with a March outing, by Over the Cap.

However, the why isn’t as confusing as the when.

NFL Network’s Jane Slater reports that Smith, 26, has done everything asked of her this season under the aegis of new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, but it just wasn’t enough compared to Keanu Neal’s game. , Leighton Vander Esch and rookie dynamo Micah Parsons. While Parsons saw many more reps as a passer, the return of an injured Demarcus Lawrence is likely to push Parsons back and Slater adds that the increased use of rookie Jabril Cox was also likely a factor in the decision. to separate from Blacksmith.

Slater added that there had been no incidents that led to Smith’s release, simply a move brought on by others on the list that surpassed him.

A 2016 second-round pick at Notre Dame, Smith grabbed attention with an impressive 2018 season in which he recorded 121 tackles, four sacks, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and four defended passes. He appeared to be a versatile star who would be a vital cog in Dallas’ defense for seasons to come. Smith got an 84.1 season rating from Pro Football Focus in 2018, but that turned out to be an outlier.

His rating fell to 54.2 in 2020 as his struggles, particularly in run defense, became apparent and are a hindrance for a struggling Cowboys defense.

In four games this year, Smith had 18 tackles, with no bags or takeout. He came off the bench in Sunday’s win over the Panthers and landed a tackle in 33 snaps. These will likely be the last numbers of his days in Dallas.

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