Dallas Cowboys: 5 veterans likely playing their last season in Dallas

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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Dallas Cowboys
Jaylon Smith, LB, Dallas Cowboys Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

Last season for these Dallas Cowboys

Jaylon Smith, LB

2022 contract status: $11.8 million

My how times have changed for Jaylon Smith’s standing on the Dallas Cowboys. Two years ago he was coming off a spectacular comeback season. He was a fan favorite and a national feel good story. One contract extension later and he’s all that is wrong with the Cowboys defense. He’s a liability and an albatross.


Yes and no. Jaylon is coming off back-to-back terrible seasons. Sure, his tackle numbers are high, but the way in which he achieved those volume stats don’t speak to the quality. Smith is unreliable in his run-fits and reads. His lateral movement is atrocious and skillset is limited to downhill situations only.

Opponents know how to exploit Smith and there’s not much the Dallas Cowboys can do about it except make him a role player. With the addition of Keanu Neal, Micah Parsons, and Jabril Cox, that’s exactly what seems to be happening.

Jaylon will be lucky to get the base package LB snaps this year (Quinn runs base roughly 28% of the time) and that’s a small workload for a guy on the books for $9.8M this year. The problem is the Cowboys guaranteed his salary on the fifth day the season so he’s not exactly cuttable right now.

Next season that all changes and barring some sort of miracle, Dallas will cut bait with their feel good story of 2018. Dallas can save money and give bigger roles to their younger (and better) players.