In a shocking move this week, the Dallas Cowboys released linebacker Jaylon Smith. It was beyond a shocking move for a player who has not missed a game in his career.
More surprising than the Cowboys releasing Smith is the fact the team could not find a trade partner to even land a late-round future draft pick for the former Pro Bowl linebacker. CBS Sports’ Patrik Walker reported the Cowboys received trade offers for Smith in the spring, but the team turned them down.
“The Cowboys were getting trade interest on Jaylon Smith in the spring, but didn’t pull any triggers — presumably not liking the offers combined with wanting to see how the LB rotation would shake out w/ two rookies in the mix,” Walker noted on Twitter. “Now, I’m told, trade interest waned so, released.”
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo added the Cowboys could still pull off a last-minute trade as Smith’s release does not become official until transactions are announced late in the afternoon on October 6th. However, many insiders stated the team exhausted all of the available options already.
“The Cowboys are moving on from LB Jaylon Smith, as @AdamSchefter reported,” Garafolo said in a series of tweets. “The move isn’t official until tomorrow afternoon, so there’s still the possibility of a trade, though that doesn’t seem very likely. A trade isn’t likely because the Cowboys have already explored that option, source say, and he has the balance of his $7.2 million base salary for this season plus $9.2 million in injury guarantees next year. The latter part is a huge reason the team is moving on right now.”
Nobody was more surprised about this move than Dez Bryant, who took to Twitter and called the team out for it.
“I understand it’s a business but you don’t mess with a team whenever everything going right…” Bryant tweeted.
The Cowboys are currently 3-1 and won 3-consecutive games after dropping their season opener to the Tampa Bay Bucs. Their defense is looking so much better than what they put out on the field last season and RB Ezekiel Elliott returning to form helps things tremendously.
Jaylon Smith has since taken his talents to another 3-1 team after signing a deal with the Green Bay Packers. The team could fit him him under the cap because the Cowboys are on the hook for the entirety of his $7.2 million base salary this season because of veteran termination pay rules.
In 2021, Smith has appeared in four games and recorded 18 tackles and no tackles for loss.