Jaylon Smith was one of the Dallas Cowboys’ best stories, considering his comeback from a catastrophic knee injury that nearly ruined his NFL career before it could even begin. Finally, the production did not correspond to the story.
The Dallas Cowboys’ decision to cut Jaylon Smith was motivated by a desire to keep moving forwards
Smith’s release by the Cowboys was unexpected because of who he was — a 100-plus tackle-per-year linebacker with a Pro Bowl ring and a $11.4 million-per-year salary — not what he is now, which is a backup linebacker who doesn’t run as effectively as he used to and struggles in coverage. It’s possible that the timing of the release will be perplexing. Why did the Cowboys wait until the fourth game of the 2021 season to make this move? Why don’t you hold off a bit longer? They had some trade talks and were willing to eat a large amount of his $7.2 million basic salary, according to sources, but nothing came close to happening. In addition, Smith’s base salary of $9.2 million in 2022 was guaranteed in case of injury. The Cowboys did not want to accept the financial risk, so they agreed to release him immediately and bear the full cap charge. Smith will cost $6.8 million against the cap next season. There simply wasn’t enough room for Smith, who did not contribute on special teams, given how well rookie linebacker/defensive end Micah Parsons is playing, the return of linebacker Keanu Neal from the reserve/COVID-19 list, and the potential coordinator Dan Quinn sees in linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.
Smith became a progress stopper, in the words of former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, meaning he was getting in the way of other players who were progressing faster than him. The Cowboys are impressed with Jabril Cox’s preseason performance and believe he may develop into a defensive player as the season progresses. Smith’s recovery from ligament tears and nerve damage sustained in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, his final game at Notre Dame, is to be commended. Because of the injury, some teams passed him up in the draught. In the second round, the Cowboys took a chance. After missing his rookie season, he appeared in 68 consecutive games. In 2019, he put in the work that earned him a Pro Bowl selection. Before that season, the Cowboys signed him to a hefty contract extension that guaranteed him $35.5 million. Smith discussed his brand and commercial potential at the press conference announcing the arrangement. Through his entrepreneurship programme, he made investments in minority-owned firms. Internally, though, there was considerable concern that he was more concerned with his commercial issues than with his on-field duties. When the NFL relaxed the jersey number requirements, he paid “mid-six figures” to change his number from 54 to 9.
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