Hmm: The Cowboys Are Cutting Jaylon Smith, Who is Just Two Years Removed From Being a Pro Bowl LB

Every so often, a surprise cut comes down in the NFL and it catches my attention.

And then there is one like this that makes me go hmmm:

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Cowboys are releasing linebacker Jaylon Smith. Schefter describes it as an in-season surprise, and frankly, I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Smith, 26, is two years removed from being a Pro Bowler. And one year ago, Smith’s peers throughout the NFL voted him as a top-100 player (88th overall). The start of the 2021 campaign hasn’t been kind to Smith. Through four games, the middle linebacker has sacks, tackles-for-loss, and quarterback hits. Smith has played on just 56 percent of Dallas’ defensive snaps, which is a steep drop-off when you consider he was in on more than 90 percent of the unit’s snaps in each of the three previous seasons. The Cowboys still owe Smith more than $7 million in salary, so they must not like what they are seeing to this point. But any team signing Smith could get the benefit of signing a player at a discount while Dallas pays off a healthy chunk. Hence, seeing Smith hit the wire is interesting.

For what it’s worth, Smith is Pro Football Focus’ 11th-highest-graded linebacker after four weeks. Smith’s 69.5 grade is better than Bobby Wagner (69.1), Fred Warner (57.5), and Roquan Smith (46.9). PFF also has high praise for Smith’s efforts in coverage. Smith’s 82.2 coverage grade is the third best among linebackers. Given this set of data, now I’m even more confused as to why Dallas is dropping Smith.

Because Smith is a high-profile name, who went to a big-time university (Notre Dame), and leaving a team constantly under the microscope (Cowboys), there will be some who want the Bears to kick the tires on him. So, let’s discuss that for a moment.

Part of me is unsure where the fit would be on this team. With Alec Ogletree serving a fill-in role and Danny Trevathan making his way back from IR, I’m not sure where Chicago could squeeze Smith into this defense. But on the other hand, that 82.2 coverage grade stands out. Teaming Roquan Smith with a younger player who owns an intriguing pedigree could be worth rolling the dice. And if the Bears can improve in that area with aa midseason addition, it wouldn’t be the worst thing that could happen.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

more bears news

I Don’t Hate Trading Up, Cairo Reaches Out, Jed Chimes In, and Other Bears Bullets

Maybe it's just me, but Wednesdays are starting to feel like the new Mondays. Ick. There are just 8 days until the 2024 NFL Draft. We're almost there, friends. We've almost made it. The best pre-draft stat you'll see comes...

The Bears Had Eyes on Illini DT Johnny Newton Today

Even though the Chicago Bears have plugged several notable holes this offseason, one biggie remains. And it leaves me to ask a pertinent question: Who wants to play the 3-technique defensive tackle role? Perhaps Illinois' Johnny Newton is the answer....

Watch Out For the Cardinals and Chargers as Possible Bears Trade Partners

'Tis the season for dot-connecting. And if you are a Chicago Bears fan, you might want to keep tabs on what is happening between your favorite team's current first and ninth picks. ESPN's Adam Schefter names the Arizona Cardinals and...

The Washington Commanders Are Hosting a Pre-Draft QB Group Date

The MMQB's Albert Breer shares an anecdote about the Washington Commanders pre-draft process. Washington, which holds the second pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, is hosting a bunch of quarterbacks for top-30 visits this week. Together. In the same place....

The Bears Are Back, Caleb, Verse, Goff, Biles, and Other Bears Bullets

Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back In Town" played in a loop in my head on Monday as I thought about the Chicago Bears strolling into Halas Hall to start the offseason training program. This is what it looked like...

Chop Robinson is Reportedly Visiting the Bears

Chop Robinson is more than a cool name. He was also a productive edge defender for the Penn State Nittany Lions. And, today, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reports that Chop Robinson is visiting with the Chicago Bears — today. That's...

Dadrion Taylor-Demerson is Taking a Top 30 Visit with the Bears

We're adding Dadrion Taylor-Demerson to the list of players who are coming down to Halas Hall for a top-30 visit with the Chicago Bears. Chris Emma has the scoop on the Texas Tech defensive back's upcoming trip to the greater...

Caleb Williams is Already Having Fun With Bears Fans

The 2024 NFL Draft in 10 days. And even though Caleb Williams isn't a Bear just yet, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft is already already getting acclimated with Bears Twitter. And in an endearing way, too....

First Phase Begins, Brisker Keeps Receipts, Whitehair Goes to Vegas, Receiver News, and Other Bears Bullets

Happy TTPD Week to those who observe. The Chicago Bears are one of 25 NFL teams that begin voluntary workout programs today. Huzzah! As pointed out in this post from the NFL highlighting the Bears (and the other 24 teams)...

Bagent Goes to Work, Small School Prospect Watch, Stuart Scott Doc Coming, and Other Bears Bullets

Is it just me or are weekends getting shorter as I'm getting older? As s often the case on Sundays, this Sunday set of BN Bears Bullets features a mess of things that I bookmarked during the week but never...

Latest News

Dejounte Murray Player Props: Three-Pointer Props and Odds vs. the Bulls – Wednesday, April 17, 2024

To beat his 3-point prop, Dejounte Murray must make three from downtown on Wednesday, when his Atlanta Hawks play the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Play-In Tournament, beginning at 9:30 PM ET.Dejounte Murray's Three-Pointer Prop Odds vs. the BullsDejounte Murray's...

Trae Young Player Props: Three-Pointer Props and Odds vs. the Bulls – Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Atlanta Hawks face the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday at 9:30 PM ET in the NBA Play-In Tournament, and if the Hawks' Trae Young makes three 3-pointers, he'll beat his over/under.Trae Young's Three-Pointer Prop Odds vs. the BullsTrae Young's over/under...

Nikola Vucevic Player Props: Three-Pointer Props and Odds vs. the Hawks – Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Nikola Vucevic needs to make two 3-pointers to beat his over/under when the Chicago Bulls face the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday at 9:30 PM ET, in the NBA Play-In Tournament.Nikola Vucevic's Three-Pointer Prop Odds vs. the HawksNikola Vucevic's over/under for...

DeMar DeRozan Player Props: Three-Pointer Props and Odds vs. the Hawks – Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Chicago Bulls play the Atlanta Hawks at 9:30 PM ET on Wednesday, in the NBA Play-In Tournament, and one of the 3-pointer props available for this clash requires only one make from DeMar DeRozan.DeMar DeRozan's Three-Pointer Prop Odds vs....

Coby White Player Props: Three-Pointer Props and Odds vs. the Hawks – Wednesday, April 17, 2024

On Wednesday at 9:30 PM ET, the Chicago Bulls meet the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA Play-In Tournament, and Coby White's 3-pointer over/under for this clash requires three triples.Coby White's Three-Pointer Prop Odds vs. the HawksCoby White's over/under for three-pointers...

Bogdan Bogdanovic Player Props: Three-Pointer Props and Odds vs. the Bulls – Wednesday, April 17, 2024

To beat his 3-point prop, Bogdan Bogdanovic must make three from beyond the arc on Wednesday, when his Atlanta Hawks meet the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Play-In Tournament, tipping off at 9:30 PM ET.Bogdan Bogdanovic's Three-Pointer Prop Odds vs....

Dallas Cowboys 3-Round Mock Draft: Exploring Potential Picks in the First 3 Rounds

2024 Dallas Cowboys 3-Round Mock Draft -The sting of the Divisional Round loss to the Green Bay Packers still lingers in Dallas. While the Cowboys boast a young and talented core, bolstering the offense and fortifying the defensive line remain key...

Baseball America Has Added Another Chicago Cubs Prospect to Their Top-100 List

If you have been paying attention at all, I think it's going to be very easy for you to fill in these blanks: https://twitter.com/BaseballAmerica/status/1780601113198383137 Yes, that'd be Jefferson Rojas, the still-18-year-old shortstop for the High-A South Bend Cubs, currently hitting...

Connor Murphy Named Blackhawks Nominee for the King Clancy Trophy

On Wednesday morning, the NHL announced the 32 team nominees for the 2023-24 King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which is presented “to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution...

Chicago Cubs Lineup: Mastrobuoni and Tauchman, But No Canario?

CUBS LINEUP — How many rubber matches can one team have? After two wild games to start the series, the Cubs are looking to win their second-consecutive series this afternoon in Arizona. Jordan Wicks is on the mound for Chicago....

more bears news