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Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones Calls LB Jaylon Smith A “Cornerstone”

2020 has been a rough season for a lot of Cowboys, but none more so than linebacker Jaylon Smith.

Smith was once a top NFL prospect, an athletic freak coveted by teams at the top of the draft. Then, during his final collegiate bowl game, Smith suffered a leg injury that would forever change his career. No one could be sure that he’d ever be the same, so when the Cowboys took a chance on him very early in the second round in 2016, everyone was in shock.

Through two years or so, it looked like Dallas knew something no one else did. Jaylon Smith had a career year in 2018, joining forces with Leighton Vander Esch to form one of the best young linebacker duos in all of football. He then signed a lucrative six year contract with the Cowboys, embedding him in the fabric of America’s Team.

The last two seasons, though, have been bad. And at times, really bad. Bad enough that Cowboys Nation is trying to find ways out of that expensive contract this offseason. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, however, has a different view of things.

“We don’t have a player out there that doesn’t have things that he doesn’t want to improve on and can be better…but, boy, I’m glad we got him. He’s one of our cornerstones and he’ll get better and better and better” – Jerry Jones.

Jones told this week that Jaylon Smith is a cornerstone of this Cowboys team, for now and for the future.

His on field performance would suggest otherwise, though. Smith was a Pro Bowler in 2019, but anyone who watched each week knew that this wasn’t indicative of his level of play. Last Sunday against the Steelers, Smith committed two awful penalties that contributed heavily to the team blowing their early lead. And this seemingly lack of football IQ is seen throughout his play.

Jaylon has certainly raked up the raw tackle numbers, but too often he is way out of position and looks lost on the field. Maybe he will get more comfortable in Mike Nolan’s system and get out of this funk. But honestly, this looks like a player who used to rely on incredible athleticism to make up for missed reads, and now he doesn’t have that athleticism to back him up.

What do you think?

Kevin Brady

Written by Kevin Brady

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.


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  1. I agree and he seems like a very likable guy but he doesn’t impress me at all. He played well in 2018 but I have to wonder if he’s a guy who will play well when everything else around him is good-great, like it was in 2018. I can’t really blame them for extending him after that season but at this point, they need to surround him with the best players possible and hope he bounces back to 2018 form.

  2. A winning organizations is always looking to upgrade at each position if necessary. This means, you don’t fall in love with players. Jerry Jones has a long history of sticking with players who are not playing up to their contracts.

  3. A cornerstone? Shows u how u should take all of Jerry’s hyperbole with a grain of salt. J Smith is an avg LB. getting pd like an elite one. Another example of the aura of mediocrity surrounding the cowboys. All style no substance. This team is fat and happy. As long as people are talking about the cowboys and buying jerseys Jerry’s happy.

  4. This doesn’t surprise me Jerry don’t know Jack shit about football he’s good at blowing smoke but not worth a damn at running a championship football team

  5. Two thoughts with Jaylon and Jerry. First, maybe that nasty injury dropped Smith down a notch or two from his supposed elite status. Second, Jerry thinks he make a great coup drafting Smith in the 2nd roumd, and wants to save face by saying and thinking the player will “get better and better”.

    I was rooting for Jaylon when he was recovering from the injury. He worked very hard and seems like a good guy. However, right now he just seem to lack the quickness needed and/or his reaction time is a tick to slow. Either way it’s not good.

  6. This article was incredibly inane. Aside from simply eliciting a discussion/debate, it seems like a desperate attempt to create public fodder. As stated in the article, this is already a hot button issue among the Cowboy nation. Therefore writing this article served absolutely zero contribution in providing any sort of wealth, insight, or unknown knowledge regarding the team. Kevin Brady, this piece lacks sustenance and your efforts are futile. Please do better.

  7. again, JJ demonstrating why he would have been fired by 31 other teams if he had been GM the past 2 decades for anyone other than his own incompetent owner self. Jaylon is a liability. Good story, great pay, terrible play. Thanks, JJ – now you can overpay Dak as you did Amari, Zeke Jaylon and Crawford. Guaranteeing avg or worse the next decade- something you ARE an expert in.

  8. Wow…what else would JJones say?#54 is playing so bad, I don’t want to say his name. We had a great opportunity to beat Pittsburgh (our most hated team) with a third string QB. Our oline played the best they’re going to play, #54 cost us the game with boneheaded plays ( 2 game changing penalties)..if #54 is the cornerstone, it explains why our defense is the in the NFL. It’s sickening to watch #54 play and knowing he’s locked in for a few more years, move him to DE.

  9. All true. Jaylon has a great story but he lost his quickness from his recovery year in 2019. A great linebacker plugs the hole and is aggressive. He doesn’t do this and often make tackles 4 to 6 yards down the field. Then he gets up and celebrates. I just don’t know how a guy can think he is playing well when his defense is one of the worst in the league and his is one of the high paid stars.

    I fault Jerry Jones and the fans. We accept Jerry running a family business and not hiring qualified football leaders to help develop and improve the talent on the team. After 20 plus years, of not winning he should have some talent. They get favorable drafts slots but can’t build a SB team. They going to waste this 10th pick in the draft like the taco pick. Boycott Jerry until he hires a really GM. Bill parcels was right. He said “If he going to do the cooking he likes to be the one picking up the groceries!! Fire Jerry Jones!!

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