Despite some career-best numbers in 2020, Dallas' inside linebacker Jaylon Smith has become one of the many fall guys on the struggling Cowboys defensive unit.
But, the franchise clearly doesn't share the negative views of critical fans and analysts. According to reports from theFort Worth Star-Telegram, cutting the controversial LB is out of the question.
The Cowboys were clearly impressed by Smith's career-high 154 tackles (five for loss), 1.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries in 2020. Head coach Mike McCarthy shared his praise for Smith following Dallas' 6-10 season.
“The fact that he lines up every day, the fact that he practices hard every day, plays hard, I thought he gave us some big-time, productive games,” McCarthy said. “I think he’s probably one of the ones that was challenged the most as far as the scheme change. I just love his approach and the way he’s gone about it.”
Many analysts believe Smith should be included on the Cowboys' list of contract cuts this offseason. In a year where re-signing star quarterback Dak Prescott is the main goal, adjustments to the team's overall salary cap are more than necessary.
Cutting Smith would've cleared $7.2 million in cap space. Instead, that base salary figure is set to be guaranteed five days into the 2021 league year on Mar. 21.
Smith will recover from offseason wrist surgery as he prepares for his fifth NFL season with the Cowboys. Dallas will look elsewhere to make salary cap cuts.