Because the Dallas Cowboys are “loaded” at linebacker, and in light of Jaylon Smith’s demotion, Bleacher Report believes a trade is best for both parties.
Specifically, BR’s Alex Kay proposed the Cowboys send Smith to the Las Vegas Raiders for defensive end Clelin Ferell in what would qualify as a “blockbuster deal” amid the infancy of the 2021 NFL season.
“Smith accounts for $9.8 million against the cap for the 2021 season, too much for a player who logged 25 percent of the defensive snaps in Week 1,” Kay wrote. “Unless the coaching staff plans to get him more involved, it would be more beneficial and financially sensible to trade him.
“The Raiders would be an ideal landing spot. Vegas started the season with a victory but gave up 27 points to the Ravens. More concerningly, it allowed 189 rushing yards to a depleted Baltimore backfield.
“Although Smith only played 25 percent of the snaps against the Buccaneers, he recorded four tackles and earned a 68.4 PFF grade.”
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Background on Ferell
Chosen with the No. 4 overall pick of the 2019 draft, Ferell has 42 solo tackles (11 tackles-for-loss), 18 quarterback hits, eight pass breakups, 6.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles to his name across 26 starts for the Raiders.
The 24-year-old was a highly decorated collegian at Clemson, twice capturing the College Football Playoff national championship while earning consensus All-American and ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2018. He also took home the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation’s top defensive end.
“[Ferell] was a healthy scratch in the season opener. While he handled it well publicly, getting a fresh start may be the best option for both parties,” Kay wrote. “Ferrell has a cap hit of $8.6 million in 2021. Dallas reportedly received plenty of calls about its linebacking corps this summer, so the Raiders will want to get a trade done quickly.”
Unlike most media fantasies, this trade package actually would make some sense for Dallas, who enter Sunday’s game against the Chargers down their starting DEs — DeMarcus Lawrence, out indefinitely with a broken foot, and Randy Gregory, who remains in COVID-19 protocols.
However, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones stated Friday the team would not acquire outside help in the wake of Lawrence’s injury, which is projected to keep the $105 million star on the shelf for 6-8 weeks.
“We’ve got talented players who can do several things,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan, via The Athletic’s Jon Machota. “We’ll put people out there that are capable of making the plays.”
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Smith Embracing Part-Time Role
Holding court with reporters Thursday, the once-hyped linebacker was forced to address his transition from every-down starter to strict role player. Smith played just 16 snaps in last week’s loss to Tampa Bay, his fewest since his 2017 rookie campaign.
“A different experience, but for me, I’ve been through so much. I’m locked in,” Smith said, via Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. “Whenever my name is called, I’m going to be here to ball, and that’s just my mentality. Whatever it takes for this team to win.”
“Coaches have game plans. It’s my job to be ready. So I’m ready. I’ve been ready,” he added, per The Athletic’s Jon Machota. “That’s all I can do, just continue to work on my craft and be the best player I can be, a dominant player.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL