The Dallas Cowboys have released linebacker Jaylon Smith, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.
Smith, 26, is in his fifth NFL season. A second-round draft pick by the Cowboys in 2016 out of Notre Dame, Smith made the Pro Bowl in 2019. He started every Cowboys game from 2018-20, but came off the bench in two of Dallas’ four games this season.
It was not immediately clear what prompted the Cowboys to make the cut four weeks into the season. NFL Network’s Mike Garofolo reports that the release won’t be official until Wednesday, leaving open an unlikely possibility that Smith gets traded in the meantime.
Smith is owed $7.2 million this season, all of which was guaranteed when he made the team’s initial 53-man roster. Garofolo reports that $9.2 million in injury guarantees for next season played a factor in the Cowboys decision to part ways with Smith.
The Cowboys spent two of their last three first-round draft picks on linebackers, selecting Leighton Vander Esch in 2018 and rookie Micah Parsons in April’s draft. They did not have a first-round pick in 2019. Parsons has emerged as Rookie of the Year candidate while helping to anchor a resurgent Dallas defense this season.