Jaylon Smith has easily been the most maligned player on the Cowboys' roster for over a year now. But while many are questioning his future in Dallas, Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn took time yesterday to praise Smith for being “excellent” to coach and someone he looks to for advice and insight on how the team is doing.
With regressing play in 2019 and an even sharper decline last year, Jaylon's become the favorite punching bag for many Cowboys fans. His tone-deaf choice this year to switch to the #9 jersey, still linked to the beloved Tony Romo, only made matters worse.
While this may be a source of frustration for some, Dan Quinn doesn't seem to mind.
Dan Quinn said Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith has been “excellent” to coach. Likely to be featured differently than in previous years. They communicate openly about that. Dan: “Someone I definitely lean on for insight of where we are, how we’re doing, what’s been too much, not enough.”
It's only appropriate that Jaylon step into a leadership role after Sean Lee's retirement. This is Smith's sixth year in Dallas, the longest tenure of any other linebacker. He and Keanu Neal were both products of the 2016 NFL Draft but Neal has spent the last five years in Atlanta.
For experience and leadership to have value, though, they generally have to be backed up on the field. Smith doesn't have the credibility of someone like Sean Lee at this point and has to change that quickly if he wants to remain in Dallas beyond 2021.
In 2022 the Cowboys can release Jaylon outright for $5 million in cap relief or $9.2 million as a June-1st cut.
That said, if there's anyone who can help Jaylon Smith keep his job it's Dan Quinn. Everyone is going to say the nice things now while he's still part of the 2021 plans. We'll see how the team really feels about Jaylon next year.