Giants Sign Ex-Cowboys Pro Bowler Ahead of NFC East Matchup

Jaylon Smith

Getty The Giants have signed ex-Cowboys Pro Bowl linebacker Jaylon Smith to their practice squad ahead of their December 19 NFC East Matchup with Dallas.

With positive COVID-19 tests piling up across the NFL heading in Week 15, the New York Giants have not been exempt. And while New York’s linebacking corps has remained intact, they still made a move to bring in a familiar face with ties to their upcoming opponent on December 19.

According to ESPN insider Adam Schefter on Friday, December 17, the Giants have signed former Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl linebacker Jaylon Smith to their practice squad.

Smith was released by the Cowboys on October 25 after being passed on the depth chart by rookie phenom Micah Parsons. He was then picked up by the Green Bay Packers and appeared in two games with them before getting let go for the second time this season on November 2.

Following his departure from Green Bay, Smith, 26, remained unsigned until the Giants ultimately decided to bring the linebacker over to East Rutherford for a look.

After the Cowboys selected him in the second round of the 2016 NFL draft, Smith sat out of his rookie year to recover from a torn ACL and LCL. Despite being projected to go in the top five of the draft out of the University of Notre Dame, Smith fell to the second day as a result of his knee injury.

But in 2017, Smith burst onto the scene in Dallas, becoming a staple on the Cowboys’ defense for the next four seasons. Smith played in a total of 68 games with 56 starts during his time with the Cowboys. His best campaign came in 2019 when he posted 142 tackles, six tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and nine passes defended, making the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.

Now, Smith could get a shot at redemption with the Giants in the final four games of the 2021 regular season.

The latest Giants news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Giants newsletter here!

Sign up for the Heavy on Giants Newsletter!

Covid List

As previously mentioned, the Giants have had a COVID outbreak of their own this week, as their list grew to nine players on December 17.

Among the individuals currently on the Giants’ reserve/COVID-19 list include: Xavier McKinney Adoree’ Jackson, John Ross, Kadarius Toney, Aaron Robinson, J.R. Reed, Natrell Jamerson, Cam Brown and Oshane Ximines. However, Jackson (quad) and Toney (quad/oblique) have been dealing with injuries and were unlikely to play this week anyway.

Head coach Joe Judge told reporters that it is possible, but not likely for some of these names to play against the Cowboys. In order to suit up, they would require multiple negative tests before Sunday.

As for McKinney, he has been in isolation after being determined as a close contact to someone that tested positive. Luckily, Judge says McKinney has continued to test negative all week and could get cleared on Saturday before playing the following day.

Giants’ Thin Secondary

While it is promising news that McKinney is expected to be on the field this week, the Giants are still razor-thin in their secondary due to injuries and COVID.

If McKinney does play, their safety group will nearly be at full strength with Logan Ryan, Julian Love and Steven Parker available. They will likely be without one of their other backup safeties in Reed, who is on the COVID list.

But things get a bit dicier when you look at the cornerback position with Jackson, Robinson and Jamerson all expected to be out. Darnay Holmes is currently on three-game injured reserve with a rib injury as well.

So, the last men standing in the cornerback room are James Bradberry, Keion Crossen and Jarren Williams. Fortunately, Love has experience as a perimeter corner and it is fair to anticipate him seeing some time there this week given how short-handed this unit will be.


Read More