In-season surprise: Cowboys released LB Jaylon Smith, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 6, 2021
The Cowboys have decided to release Jaylon Smith, as Adam Schefter said. Smith is owed the remainder of his $7.2 million base salary this year. Jerry Jones spoke with Smith today about the decision, according to sources.
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) 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
A 2nd-round pick in 2016, Jaylon overcame a career-threatening injury at Notre Dame and enjoyed early success in Dallas. He deserved to go to the Pro Bowl in 2018 and finally went the following season.
However, 2020 saw a sharp decline in Smith’s play and public questioning of then-Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan’s scheme. But while the team did move on from Nolan this year, they also did a lot to upgrade their talent at linebacker and pushed Jaylon into a reserve role.
Smith only appeared on 25% of Dallas’ defensive snaps in Week 1. The numbers went up in Weeks 2-3 with Micah Parsons playing more DE and then Keanu Neal hitting the COVID list. But with Neal back and rookie Jabril Cox to get on the field, the Cowboys have decided to end their relationship with Jaylon.