Schefter points out that Dallas still owes Smith $7.2 million for 2021 after restructuring his contract back in March.
Smith still has five years, $50.75 million left on his contract. His release leaves behind $16.6 million of dead cap.
Dallas is now on the hook for $9.8 million this year and $6.8 million in 2022.
Mike Garafolo reports that Dallas has already explored potential trades for Smith but the linebacker being owed $9.2 million in injury guarantees next year is a “huge reason” why they are moving on from him now.
Jane Slater confirms that the Cowboys unsuccessfully attempted to trade Smith and the organization felt comfortable going forward with LBs Keanu Neal and Leighton Vander Esch, while Jabril Cox‘s increased usage could’ve also been a factor.
Smith’s release won’t be official until 4 pm EST on Wednesday.
Smith, 26, was a second-round pick by the Cowboys out of Notre Dame in the 2016 NFL Draft. He signed a four-year, $6,494,970 rookie contract.
Smith was headed into his fourth season when he signed a five-year, $64 million extension in 2019.
In 2021, Smith has appeared in four games and recorded 18 tackles and no tackles for loss. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 13 overall linebacker out of 81 players.