The Dallas Cowboys have made a decision that many people are not happy about. They decided to release Jaylon Smith, the player who was injured in the National Championship game and is now out for the season with a knee injury. The team released him because they believe his progress is not worth it.
The Dallas Cowboys’ decision to cut Jaylon Smith is about not stopping progress. They made the decision to release the linebacker in order to keep up with the times and allow for better players to be on the field.
FRISCO, Texas (KTRK) — Jaylon Smith was one of the Dallas Cowboys’ greatest stories, considering his return from a severe knee injury that almost terminated his NFL career before it could even begin. Finally, the production did not correspond to the narrative.
Smith’s release by the Cowboys was unexpected because of who he was — a 100-plus tackle-per-year linebacker with a Pro Bowl on his resume and a contract worth an average of $11.4 million per year — not what he is now, which is a backup linebacker who struggles in coverage and does not run as well as he once did.
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 with clubs about a move for Smith, according to sources, and were prepared to eat a significant part of his $7.2 million basic salary, but nothing came close to occurring.
In addition, Smith’s basic pay 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 pay the entire cap cost. Smith will cost $6.8 million against the cap next season.
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With the performance of rookie linebacker/defensive end Micah Parsons, the return of linebacker Keanu Neal from the reserve/COVID-19 list, and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn’s praise for linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, there was simply no place for Smith, who did not contribute on special teams.
Smith became a progress stopper, according to former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, which meant 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 think he may develop into a defensive player as the season progresses.
Smith’s recovery from ligament tears and nerve damage sustained in his last game at Notre Dame is commendable. Because of the injury, several clubs passed him up in the draft. 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 effort that earned him a Pro Bowl selection. Before that season, the Cowboys signed him to a huge contract deal that guaranteed him $35.5 million.
Smith discussed his brand and commercial possibilities during the press conference announcing the agreement. Through his entrepreneurship initiative, he made investments in minority-owned companies. Internally, though, there was considerable concern that he was more concerned with his commercial concerns than with his on-field job. When the NFL relaxed its jersey number restrictions, he spent “mid six figures” to alter his number from 54 to 9, something that would have cost him nothing if he had waited until 2022.
However, the Cowboys’ decision to dismiss Smith had nothing to do with football.
The narrative, which began so promisingly — a Notre Dame great overcoming adversity with America’s Team — just did not live up to the expectations.
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