Jones at one point looked like a budding star for America’s Team, but this season he saw his place in the lineup taken over by other players. As a result, the team thought it was best to move on and allow Smith a chance to pursue opportunities elsewhere.
On Wednesday, Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy met with reporters and discussed the decision to release Smith more in-depth. Calling it a “big picture roster move,” McCarthy said it wasn’t an easy conclusion.
He also added that owner Jerry Jones spoke with Smith first, per NFL Network’s Jane Slater.
Coach Mike McCarthy says when meeting with Jaylon Smith. It was Jerry Jones who sat down with him first then McCarthy. Those conversations are personal but said he handled it well https://t.co/bR5MlJhlTZ
— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) October 6, 2021
Despite the fact he was coming off a career-threatening knee injury, the Cowboys still took Smith in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. After allowing him to sit and recover as a rookie, Dallas began integrating the former Notre Dame star into the defense in 2017.
From 2018-20, Smith played over 92 percent of the defensive snaps for the Cowboys. That figure reached 98 percent last season.
For Smith to go from that role to being released this quickly is a reminder of how fast things change in the NFL.