Jaylon Smith, Packers Agree to 1-Year Contract After Cowboys Release

Adam WellsOctober 7, 2021

FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 27, 2021, file photo, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys are moving on from Smith without getting into the specifics of the decision to release their leading returning tackler four games into 2021. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman, File)
AP Photo/Roger Steinman, File

After his surprise release by the Dallas Cowboys, Jaylon Smith has agreed to a deal with the Green Bay Packers. 

Smith's agent, Doug Hendrickson, confirmed the one-year agreement to ESPN's Adam Schefter

The Cowboys announced Smith's released on Tuesday. He still had three years remaining on the five-year, $64 million extension that was signed in 2019. 

Dallas will be on the hook for $16.6 million in dead cap money through the 2022 season. 

Smith was the No. 34 pick by the Cowboys in the 2016 NFL draft. He missed his entire rookie season recovering from a torn ACL and LCL suffered in the Fiesta Bowl while playing for Notre Dame.

Since the start of the 2017 season, Smith has appeared 68 straight regular-season games for the Cowboys. He has recorded at least 120 combined tackles in each of the previous three seasons and has 13 quarterback hits during that span.

The 26-year-old has been fantastic so far this year in pass coverage, but his run defense has been significantly lacking. Pro Football Focus currently has Smith with an 82.2 coverage grade, compared to a 37.4 grade against the run. 

The Packers defense has been effective in both areas to start this season. They rank eighth in passing yards allowed (209.5 per game) and 12th in rushing yards allowed (102.0 per game). 

As long as Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry understands the best way to maximize Smith's talent, this deal could be a pivotal move for a franchise with championship aspirations this year.    


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