The Dallas Cowboys sent shockwaves through the NFC on Tuesday night when they released – according to league sources – former Pro Bowl linebacker Jaylon Smith.
Let’s be clear about this from the start. Smith being released means he doesn’t have to clear the waivers. Assuming a last-minute deal doesn’t close until 4 p.m. Wednesday, he becomes a free agent who can sign anywhere he wants.
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There is obvious interest from the perspective of the Washington football team as he is set to be a former member of the NFC East Cowboys. But there is another angle to this.
First off, WFT needs immediate linebacker help following Jon Bostic’s injury in Atlanta last Sunday. Would Smith suit DC?
Plus, despite the apparent fact that Smith didn’t fit well with the plan of the Cowboys’ new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, he played 40 percent of his unit’s snaps in their victory over the Carolina Panthers last Sunday. He might have been deemed too expensive for the Cowboys, but he wasn’t playing too badly to be on the court.
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The once much-vaunted Notre Dame linebacker was expected to be a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft until he suffered a devastating knee injury in a bowl game against the Ohio State Buckeyes . Due to the injury, Smith slipped in the second round. Two picks actually, and he was selected with the second pick of the round by Dallas.
All he’s done since is play every game of his career, starting all 16 games in each of the past three seasons. In 2019, Smith secured a spot in the Pro Bowl.
Two years later, he is on the verge of becoming a free agent. If someone doesn’t rush and grab them first. Again, this is not a waiver issue, it is a business issue.
There’s no reason to believe the Cowboys will want to trade him within the division, and if other teams find out Washington is interested, it could inspire one of them to take on the 7.2. million remaining from his 2021 contract, and his injury protected 2022 total of $ 6.8 million.
In addition, the Cowboys have reportedly already tried to trade Smith. Something that plays into the WFT’s game, if that interests him.
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However, if Washington could convince the Cowboys to accept a trade offer, the team would inherit the contract. And they would get another bite to fix some linebacker issues in the process. Just in time too, with the loss of Bostic this weekend.
If Dallas can’t find a business partner by the deadline and the post goes official, then Smith can sign anywhere he wants. Better yet, he will already have $ 7.2 million in Cowboys money in his bank account. Make your ability to be flexible with the details of your next contract an important factor.
He could take the competitor’s path. The Kansas City Chiefs could definitely use the help of a linebacker.
Or he could take the path of revenge.
And if he does seek to do so, the Washington football team could offer a nice landing spot for a talented young man, on a roster looking to return to playoff-caliber football, and two remaining opportunities to show his old team how much of a mistake they are about to make.
Washington won’t face the Cowboys until December, when the teams will meet twice in three weeks.