Brandon George reports that the Cowboys plan to activate RB Darren McFadden from the non-football injury list by 3 pm EST Tuesday and place rookie LB Jaylon Smith on season-ending injured reserve.
Smith, 20, was taken with the No. 34 overall pick by the Cowboys a few weeks ago. So much was made about the condition of Smith’s knee and how it could impact his NFL career, but the Cowboys still felt comfortable enough about his future to use their second-round pick on him.
Before he suffered the serious knee injury at end of last year, Smith was considered a to be a top-five selection, so if he’s able to return to form, the Cowboys could be looking at a blue-chip player in the middle of their defense for years to come.
Smith signed a four-year contract worth $6,494,972 with the Cowboys, which includes a signing bonus of $2,923,616.
During his college career at Notre Dame, Smith recorded 284 tackles, 23.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, three recoveries and 10 pass defenses for the Fighting Irish over the course of three years.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters after Sunday’s loss to the Giants that he expects to activate RB Darren McFadden from the non-football injury list this week, per Brandon George.
This has been the expectation all along. Dallas placed McFadden on the NFI list after he suffered an elbow injury this summer.
McFadden’s name came up in trade rumors in the months leading up to the trade deadline, but the Cowboys couldn’t move him while he was still on the NFI list.
It’s hard to imagine McFadden getting a lot of carries, given that Ezekiel Elliott is firmly entrenched as their starter and currently an MVP candidate. Beyond that, the Cowboys also have Alfred Morris and Lance Dunbar, so it would be surprising to see all four of them active for games in the coming weeks.
McFadden, 29, is in the final year of his two-year, $3 million contract that included a $200,000 signing bonus. He stands to make a base salary of $1.25 million for the 2016 season before testing the open market as an unrestricted free agent next year.
In 2015, McFadden appeared in all 16 games for the Cowboys and ran for 1,089 yards on 239 carries (4.6 YPC) to go along with 40 receptions for 328 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 42 running back out of 69 qualifying players.