NFL

Cowboys let go of former Pro Bowl linebacker Jaylon Smith

The Dallas Cowboys have moved on from their 2016 second round pick Jaylon Smith. Smith was an All Pro two seasons ago, but lost his starting job this year.

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Cowboys let go of former Pro Bowl linebacker Jaylon Smith
TOM PENNINGTON AFP

The Dallas Cowboys have parted ways with former Pro Bowl linebacker Jaylon Smith.

No last minute trade came for Smith

The news was made official Tuesday night after the Cowboys were unable to deal Smith in a trade. His $7.2 million salary was a big part of why no teams came knocking on the door looking to make a deal for the 2019 Pro Bowler.

Smith was an integral piece of the Cowboys defense for the last two years, starting every game between the 2018-2020 seasons. Dallas signed Smith to a five year extension after his All Pro campaign two years ago, but now will have to swallow Smith’s salary this year. They will however liberate themselves from the $9.2 million he would be owed next year.

Jones and Cowboys took a chance on Smith out of college

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones met with Smith on Tuesday to inform the linebacker that he would be getting let go.

It was Jones who took a chance on Smith out of college after the former Notre Dame Fighting Irish suffered a serious knee injury in his final college game. Jones and the Cowboys used their second round pick in the 2016 draft to take the linebacker after Dr. Daniel Cooper, one of the teams physicians, performed the surgery and assured the team there would be no lingering never damage.

After missing his rookie year while he recovered from the injury he returned to the gird iron in 2017, starting in nearly half of the Cowboys games, and came up one tackle shy of a 100 tackle season. He earned the starting role the next year, and maintained his spot as a starter until the beginning of this season.

Smith was the odd man out in Dallas LB core

According to NFL Network’s Jane Slater, Smith fell out of favor in the system installed by new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Rookie sensation Micah Parsons has impressed the Cowboys in his first year out of Penn State, while Keanu Neal and Leighton Vander Esch are mainstays in the linebacking core for Quinn.

Smith did play this season for the Cowboys, but did not start in any one of Dallas’ first four games. He registered 19 tackles in 148 of the 264 snaps taken by the Cowboys on the defensive side of the ball.