The Dallas Cowboys announced a surprising roster move with the release of middle linebacker Jaylon Smith. He is still owed $7.2 million for the remainder of this season. The Cowboys’ defense has seen major improvements this season and it seems the team has moved on from Smith. He is a former Pro Bowl linebacker and signed a five-year extension with Dallas in 2019. The team explored trade options for Smith at the beginning of the season, but couldn’t find a match. Jerry Jones informed the linebacker of the decision Tuesday night.
In-season surprise: Cowboys released LB Jaylon Smith, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 6, 2021
Can confirm. My sources tell me the #Cowboys tried unsuccessfully to trade Jaylon Smith. “He did everything we asked him to” but ultimately the play of guys like Keanu Neal, Leighton Vander Esch and I’m told perhaps increased use now of Jabril Cox led to the move bc of ?? https://t.co/2YkPjxS6Ij
— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) October 6, 2021
This season it became apparent that the former Pro Bowl linebacker had lost his starting job to other players. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has gone a different route and it is hard to argue with the results. Smith will likely clear waivers and be free to sign with another team in the near future. While the decision seems odd it is probably the right move long-term.
Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith spearheading pregame hype: pic.twitter.com/mjMoyzHiPt
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) October 3, 2021
It seems clear that Jaylon Smith was well-liked on the team and an emotional leader for the team. The price tag just doesn’t seem to justify his current production on the field. Hopefully, a fresh start will allow him to reach the Pro Bowl level he was once at on the field.