Jaylon Smith’s performance this preseason — so stunningly bad, he went viral on Twitter — could be the impetus for the Dallas Cowboys to initiate the departure of the veteran linebacker.
With the first of three NFL roster cutdown deadlines approaching Tuesday, USA TODAY’s K.D. Drummond believes Smith is (or should be) among those squarely on the bubble and advocated for a trade out of Dallas.
“Let’s get this one out of the way. Smith does not look good, at all, right now through two preseason games,” Drummond wrote Monday. “His diagnosis-slash-response is lacking woefully and it’s similar to the decline fans have seen since the 2018 season where he deserved to go to the Pro Bowl. Many are thinking it has to do with his repaired knee that is the foundation for his inspiring story and journey to even have a pro career.
“While the chances Smith doesn’t see the Cowboys’ 53-man roster are growing, the likelihood something happens by this first deadline are miniscule. The team foolishly allowed a spring deadline to pass, so his full $7.2 million base salary is guaranteed and even if there is an offset clause in his contract, a new team would sign him for vet minimum, leaving Dallas on the hook for over $6 million.”
The longstanding subject of speculation, Smith is slated to count $9.8 million against the salary cap for the 2021 campaign, his fifth in Dallas and third since signing a five-year, $63.75 million extension.
Smith Went Viral for Effort vs. Cardinals
Smith lit social media aflame last Friday night, for all the wrong reasons. The video embedded below shows the apparent decline of the former Pro Bowler, who was caught flat-footed while attempting to cover an Arizona running back during Dallas’ 19-16 preseason loss.
The Struggle Continues …
Smith’s increasingly glaring pass-coverage woes aren’t limited to exhibition contests. The Cowboys returned to practice at The Star in Frisco on Monday, and once again the much-criticized 26-year-old proved deficient in space, prompting additional vitriol.
“Not sure what happened but Jeremy Sprinkle was wide open on a TD throw from Garrett Gilbert. Everyone’s favorite linebacker wasn’t covering anyone. Then another TD pass to Blake Jarwin, where he got behind the other favorite LB,” reported Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News.
Complete lack of awareness from Jaylon Smith. Lets Jeremy Sprinkle get wide open with plenty of space. Not what you wanna see out of your nearly $70 million dollar linebacker.
If he can’t cover a blocking TE (no offense sprinkle) that ran a 4.7 40, how is he going to cover RBs/athletic TEs.
Jaylon Smith giving up TD’s off play action already.
The Cowboys drafted stud LBs. Signed another one. McCarthy just confirmed Parsons and Neal are the starters. Basically if you don’t like Jaylon Smith or think he sucks you got everything you wanted this offseason.