A life lesson to keep in mind in the NFL is anything can happen. That statement was never truer than late on Tuesday evening when the Dallas Cowboys made a stunning move.
It sent the NFL Twitter world ablaze with hot takes coming off of this surprising release in the first week of October.
Especially considering America’s Team still owes the former Notre Dame star a ton of money.
Smith still has over $50.8 million and five years left on his contract and that leaves over $16.6 million in dead cap on the Cowboys’ books, per Spotrac.
Now is a perfect opportunity for the New York Jets to add a former Pro Bowl talent at a position of need. It’s rare for a player of this caliber to be available in general, let alone in the middle of a season.
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Why Is He Available?
There are two big reasons that Smith is suddenly available as a free agent.
Future cap savings
While Dallas is eating a ton of dead money now, the longer they kept him on the roster, the greater the chances were that they’d owe him more money in the future.
On his 2022 salary, $9.2 million is injury guaranteed. If Smith remained on the team and got hurt, the Cowboys would be on the hook for that. By moving on now, they mitigate their losses and also give Smith a new opportunity to land somewhere else.
First world problem
That last point leads us into what Dallas is dealing with, a first-world problem. They have so many good and talented linebackers that it is hard to get them all on the field at the same time:
Jane Slater of the NFL Network said her sources told her that the “increased” expected usage of the talented rookie out of LSU is a big reason that led to this move to release Smith.
Top Fan Tweets
Since the Cowboys released Smith late on Tuesday evening, Jets fans have already been clamoring for their team to make the move immediately to bring him into the fold. Here are some of the top tweets floating out there on Twitter:
Jets’ head coach Robert Saleh has cut his teeth as a defensive guru for the last 20 plus years and his specialty is working with linebackers. Who is there better to trust with a talented piece of clay like Smith than Saleh?
CJ Mosley looks like the same player he was two years ago when the Jets inked him to an $85 million deal. Throw in a pleasant surprise off the waiver wire in Quincy Williams and the linebacking corps is looking pretty juicy.
In Saleh’s 4-3 scheme they play three linebackers in their base and Smith could be the missing piece to the puzzle. He brings all the tools and traits to succeed in this defense and he’d come dirt cheap, why not?
This is the perfect low risk vs high reward kind of move. What do the Jets have to lose? Bring him in for a workout and get a look at him up close and personal. If he passes the sniff test, you add him to the roster. If for whatever reason he doesn’t pass your tests, then you decide to move on.
Love the use of the caps lock in this tweet and the intense passion that is behind the words. It’s hard to disagree with the take.