Jaylon Smith participates in Cowboys’ Landry Shift celebration while losing on Giants

Smith might no longer be on the Dallas Cowboys, but that doesn’t mean the Dallas Cowboys are no longer in him. | From @KDDrummondNFL

Jaylon Smith’s time in Dallas with the Cowboys became maligned over the last few years. His lack of movement led to him being moved back on the depth chart to eventually off the roster. His over-the-top celebrations, often times when the team was losing or they weren’t actually plays worth celebrating, moved many a fan from his corner to his opposition, but this one may take the cake. Apparently Smith is still a Cowboy at heart.

After a short stop in Green Bay, Smith found himself out of football until the Giants came calling this week amid injuries and COVID outbreaks. Smith was signed to the New York practice squad and was elevated ahead of the game to get his first game action since Week 7. He was on the field for a handful of plays getting in on four tackles. He also got in on the end-of-game celebration ritual, the famed Landry Shift the Cowboys employ when they have the ball to run out the clock.

Only, again, Smith is on the Giants.

Smith clearly emulates the up-and-down reset done by the offensive line as a nod to legendary Cowboys coach Tom Landry and then celebrates with a fist pump.

Smith played 68 career games across six seasons with the Cowboys. During multiple dust ups between the Giants defense and Cowboys offense, Smith was seeing exchanging cordials with members of Dallas and following the game posed with several former teammates for pictures. The love is still obviously there, but joining in on the victory celebration is an interesting move.

[vertical-gallery id=688007][lawrence-newsletter]

Jerry Jones frank on Jaylon Smith’s release from Cowboys, injury guarantee: ‘Something has to give’

The Cowboys owner revealed that Smith is still dealing with effects of his 2016 injury and seemed to compare him to a used Ford Bronco. | From @ToddBrock24f7

Cowboys players got a loud-and-clear reminder this week that pro football is a business with the sudden release of veteran linebacker and locker room leader Jaylon Smith. But they wouldn’t have needed to look any further than the big corner office at The Star, because the boss has always been, at his core, a businessman.

Franchise owner Jerry Jones cut bait on an investment that was no longer paying the kind of dividends his portfolio needed when he sent Smith packing, even if it means taking a loss on the $7.2 million the team will continue to pay him to not wear a Cowboys uniform for the remainder of this season.

And with Smith no longer in the building or representing the brand, Jones had some surprisingly honest talk to dish out on the former second-round draft pick, making something of an admission on the injury that Smith spent an entire season recovering from, and even- in a roundabout way- comparing the onetime Pro Bowler to a used truck.

During a phone-in with a Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan on Friday, Jones was asked if releasing one of the most recognizable faces of the franchise was difficult.

“Well, it was,” Jones told the K&C Masterpiece show, “and principally, because he’s such a warrior. He really was what you think about when you think of somebody overcoming adversity. And for this game, he had a great hurdle to overcome: his injury. And that drop foot- it’s called drop foot, that he had, and it still plagues him to this day- was mind over matter in my mind.”


Still plagues him to this day is not a phrase Cowboys fans have heard before concerning Smith or the apparent after-effects of his injury. It’s certainly not a phrase that engenders confidence about his future performance.

It’s (perhaps) also worth noting that Jones switched to past tense when speaking about Smith as a player.

The horrific ACL and LCL tears Smith suffered in his final college game at Notre Dame sent him plummeting from the early first round of the 2016 NFL draft, where he was expected to be a top-five pick. The Cowboys claimed him 34th overall, way too early for most pundits at the time. But with the Cowboys’ own doctor having been Smith’s surgeon, the team rolled the dice on him making a full recovery.

After sitting out the 2016 season, Smith returned to action during the 2017 campaign. By 2018, he was a starter and a dominant force at middle linebacker.

Jones, the longtime oilman, had gone in on a well that everyone said was dry. Instead, it boomed. The billionaire has always loved it when his gambles hit, when a diamond on the rough is revealed to have been unearthed under his watchful eye.

Cowboys fans saw it when Jimmy Johnson and his laughingstock of a team morphed into a dynasty. When an undrafted benchwarmer named Tony Romo became the toast of the NFL. When an ex-backup ascended through the ranks to become head coach of America’s Team. Jones was the architect of it all, the record will show. Or at least on the outskirts, like Forrest Gump, in just the right place to be able to claim a supporting role as history is made.

Smith’s incredible comeback was a story Jones had to be a part of. The Indiana native was signed to a five-year, $64 million contract extension. Although some theorized it was, at least in part, a move meant to send a message to running back Ezekiel Elliott during his holdout before the 2019 season, Smith and his new pay grade went on to have a Pro Bowl year.

No one is disputing the level of commitment that was required from Smith to even try to play football again, much less do so at an all-star caliber. It’s a huge part of Smith’s redemption story, and one that Jones was happy to retell.

“Now, there was a lot of physical rehab that he had to do, too,” Jones recounted. “People such as- and I’m serious- specifically, Jason Witten and such as Sean Lee, when they would work with him as he was rehabbing, would tell me, ‘We’ve never seen anybody go to the levels that he’ll push himself for this rehab or to overcome this injury. We’ve never seen anybody.’ Well, look who’s saying that: Witten and Sean Lee. So he had the right stuff, and I thought it was really unfortunate because I love what he is about as a person. The fact that he works so hard as far as entrepreneurial supporting of minority entrepreneurs, and he has that understanding of how to take it and run with it, and that one and one can be three. So he had a combination of not just talking about it on the field, he did it on the field. He had a combination of talking about it and doing it off the field. I think he’s going to be an outstanding success, and he is already, but an outstanding success beyond his football career.”

Smith’s playing days aren’t over; he was signed by Green Bay just hours after his release in Dallas. But Jones sounds like a man who has already moved on. He arguably overpaid for a stock while it was doing well, but he got out from under it once it appeared to be slipping. And now there are new futures to speculate on.

Like the future of the 2021 Cowboys, suddenly a defensive powerhouse over the first four games of the season, with a bevy of bright young stars to get excited about.

Jones was asked if the emergence of the unit’s newcomers- like Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs, Osa Odighizuwa, and others- made it easier to say goodbye to a player that Jones had clearly connected with.

“There’s no question we got young players that can fit, really, what we’re doing so well,” Jones explained. “And they have an upside. And as I’ve often said: you can’t have it all. Our system doesn’t allow you to have it all. You guys remember my old story of driving up to my airplane in a five-year-old Bronco- in a muddy five-year-old Bronco- and I had media with me and they said, ‘This makes no sense. You’re driving up to an airplane that you have in a five-year-old Bronco.’ And I said, ‘Well, it makes all the sense in the world. You can’t have it all. This is how you have an airplane, is to drive a five-year-old Bronco.’ Something has to give.”

Think about that story, especially in answer to that question.

Is Jaylon Smith the old Ford Bronco? Is the belief that a Super Bowl could be on the horizon the airplane that Jones and the Cowboys are driving up to? Did Jones just suggest out loud that Jaylon Smith no longer has upside?

Sure sounded like it.

Cowboys fans had feared for a while that Smith’s best days were behind him, but it’s harsh to hear an eternal champion of optimism like Jones put it so bluntly.

Another injury suffered by Smith would have put the Cowboys on the hook for over $9 million more next season, and it turned out to be a greater risk than Jones was willing to take. You don’t drop a whole new transmission in the used car you keep out back when there’s a brand-new hot rod sitting in the garage.

There’s been a lot of talk during the team’s 3-1 start that there’s a new culture forming in the Dallas locker room. Jones admits that cutting Smith- a loved emotional leader on the team- changes that culture moving forward.

“I think you’re seeing, from the reaction of the players, there’s appreciation for Jaylon Smith, and we don’t gain on anything by not having him on the team relative to the heart of the team and the competitiveness of the team. That was not–” Jones stopped himself and then continued. “He’s very additive there. And had the story to back it up and would pay the price to back it up. But our situation had some different things we had to consider, and we did. In his case, we had been great to him- the team, the fans, everyone- and he’s been great to the team and the fans. And that’s one of those [cases] that you wish everybody well here.”

In other words, it’s not personal. It’s business.

[listicle id=682502]

[listicle id=681531]

[listicle id=682529]


Report: NFC contender ‘making a push’ to sign Cowboys ex-LB Jaylon Smith

The Green Bay Packers are one of “multiple teams” reportedly in the mix to obtain the linebacker released this week by Dallas. | From @ToddBrock24f7

Jaylon Smith may not be on the unemployment line for long.

After being released by the Cowboys on Tuesday night, the 2016 second-round draft pick is drawing interest from several teams around the league. According to one NFL insider, the linebacker’s next gig may take him back to his native Midwest.

The Green Bay Packers  are reportedly “making a push” to obtain Smith’s services, as per Ian Rapoport. Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was the quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame in 2014, so he got an up-close look at Smith as a college sophomore terrorizing his passers every day in practice.

Earlier Wednesday, Rapoport mentioned Washington, Cleveland, and Las Vegas as other clubs that may have a need at the position. He revealed that “multiple teams are still in the mix” to land Smith.

The Packers are currently allowing 102 rushing yards per game and giving up an average of 25 points per contest. They’re a bit thin at the linebacker spot these days, with Za’Darius Smith out indefinitely after recent back surgery and Preston Smith leaving their Week 4 game in the first quarter with a shoulder injury.

[listicle id=681545]

[listicle id=681401]

[listicle id=681531]


Cowboys coach calls Jaylon Smith’s release ‘a big-picture roster move’

Mike McCarthy claims he’s not sending a message with the veteran’s release; the club was unable to find a trade partner for Smith. | From @ToddBrock24f7

It wasn’t just one thing. It was lots of things. And in the end, it was just time to part ways.

That’s the gist of the explanation given by Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy on Wednesday after the release of linebacker Jaylon Smith. A team captain for the Week 4 game versus Carolina on Sunday, the former Pro Bowler found himself out of a job by Tuesday night.

Many observers and fans alike have long suspected that Smith’s time in Dallas was running out, that his seemingly diminishing level of play and decreasing usage no longer warranted the huge payday he was earning from the club. But those looking for a single concrete reason to explain the timing of the cut aren’t getting it. At least not from McCarthy.

“There’s obviously multiple factors that go into these decisions. That was definitely the case with Jaylon,” the coach said to open his Wednesday press conference. “Had a chance to visit with him last night. Very thankful for my time with him here. We talked about his experience here in Dallas. We just felt that this was the best time to make this decision. Obviously, there’s not really ever a good time for these type of decisions. But basically, just with all of the factors involved is why the decision was made yesterday.”

When pressed to outline those factors, McCarthy declined.

“I’m not going to get into all of the specifics of it. I mean, this is a big-picture roster move. As far as us moving forward, we just felt that this was the right time.”

But the Cowboys were trying to unload Smith as early as last season, according to several insiders.

“They didn’t find any trade partners,” Jane Slater told NFL Network. After an offseason wrist surgery triggered a $7.2 million injury guarantee, the Cowboys “decided to keep him around, see how these younger players started to play, while continuing to find suitors for him. I had one team tell me that those trade talks, Cowboys picking up the phone, were really aggressive in the last two weeks.”

Smith played just 40% of the team’s defensive snaps in Week 4’s matchup with Carolina. With rookie Micah Parsons playing so exceptionally (and not needing to moonlight at defensive end), Keanu Neal about to return to action, and Leighton Vander Esch back in form, Smith’s usage seemed primed to take a further drop in the coming weeks.

“I think it’s clear now after four games how we’re playing,” McCarthy said, “and we just felt, with all the factors involved, that this is the decision that we needed to make.”

But the Dallas brass apparently tried one last time to make Smith’s contract more palatable.

“It’s my understanding the Cowboys then tried to go to his camp,” Slater reported, “and see if they would waive this injury-clause guarantee in his contract that guarantees him $9.2 million next year if he has another clean-up surgery or if he happens to get hurt. I was told he ‘refused that.'”

And that made Smith a liability to a team that was already prepared to move on without him. (And has been doing so on the field.) By releasing him now, the Cowboys eliminate the risk of being on the hook for any more money than they already owe Smith. And they also ensure that there is no distraction moving forward, the kind that could come from a prominent team leader riding the bench or simply being declared inactive.

“You’re evaluating your roster all the time,” McCarthy explained. “We had an extensive personnel meeting yesterday, and we talked through every single player on the roster. Frankly, that’s a normal process I’m sure every team goes through. Once again, it was a big-picture roster move, and we felt this was the time to do it.”

Smith is expected to draw interest from several NFL squads, especially since he’ll now come at the league-minimum price. (The Cowboys are responsible for his 2021 salary.) As Ian Rapoport told The Rich Eisen Show, “The Packers have a need there, possibly. Washington just lost [Jon] Bostic for the season; they have a need. The Cleveland Browns have had some injuries. The Las Vegas Raiders have had some issues at linebacker.”

McCarthy believes Smith could still make an impact on the field in another uniform.

“Jaylon’s an excellent football player,” he told reporters. “Like I said, there’s other factors involved in this decision. He played good football for us. In my time with him, he totally bought into the new direction of the program, everything we’ve done. The guy practices every single day, plays his ass off. I have nothing but respect for him.”

But now that respect will come from the opposite sideline. The Clear-Eye View Era has gone dark in Dallas, and that will open the door for someone else to swipe some playing time on the Cowboys defense.

“If you’re on the 53, and, really, if you’re on the practice squad also- with the exempt opportunity- everybody’s available. I think we’ve proven that. We’ve shown that. We want to have competition throughout the week. I think that’s very important, particularly for as young as we are. I want these players to see that they have an opportunity to continue to grow and hope to fight to have that opportunity on the 48. How that shakes out, and I mean this, is really up to the players. It’s up to all the young players, all the veterans. It’s up to them to show and compete and create the opportunity for themselves.”

McCarthy says the sudden release of one of its highest-profile stars was not intended to send a message to the rest of the Cowboys roster. But it has certainly delivered one just the same.

[listicle id=681545]

[listicle id=681531]

[listicle id=681481]


9 Questions: Why did the Cowboys released Jaylon Smith now of all times?

QTNA: How much had he been playing? What are the financial ramifications? What was the injury g’tee? Why didn’t they release him in the offseason? All these questions and many more are answered here. | From @KDDrummondNFL

The move certainly shocked plenty of people. The Dallas Cowboys have released Jaylon Smith, once seen as the leader of their defense, just four games into the 2021 season. Smith certainly was no longer the central figure for the team, but still his release has raised many questions as to the timing of it all and what happens next.

Smith finished his Cowboys career having played in 68 games. He totaled 516 tackles including 20 for loss with 9 career sacks. Smith had two interceptions forced six fumbles and recovered five, including a scintillating return touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a few years ago.

How much and how well had he been playing this season? What are the financial ramifications of his release? What was the deal with his injury guarantee? Why didn’t the Cowboys release him during the offseason? Why didn’t they try to trade him to another team? Why did so many fans dislike someone with his back story? Who is going to play in his place? What happens next for Smith? What about all those No. 9 jerseys? All these are answered below.

Week 1 snap counts show changing of guards, Cowboys LBs Smith, LVE replaced

Rookie Micah Parsons was on the field for 51 defensive snaps in Week 1. Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch? Significantly fewer. | From @ToddBrock24f7

One of Week 1’s big storylines for Cowboys fans was the regular-season unveiling of Dan Quinn’s revamped defense. In coming to Dallas this year, the new coordinator brought with him fresh faces, a re-tooled scheme, and the promise of improvement over 2020’s dreadful unit. The club made defense a focus of the offseason, spending eight of their 11 draft picks on talent on that side of the ball. And the first test of all of it came on opening night against the defending world champions and their high-powered offensive attack.

Cowboys fans wanted a change. They sure got it. Looking at the snap counts from Thursday’s 31-29 loss to Tampa Bay shows a definite changing of the guard at the team’s hotly-contested linebacker position. First-round pick Micah Parsons was on the field for 78% of the defensive snaps in his first real NFL game. Keanu Neal, who came from Atlanta to reunite with Quinn and switched from safety to linebacker in the process, got 77%, just one less play.

Veterans Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, though, each received less than a quarter of the total snaps on defense.

Were those snap counts- at least in part- simply the appropriate response to what head coach Mike McCarthy likes to call “the ebb and flow of the game?” Undoubtedly. The Bucs threw the ball 50 times in what was expected all along to be an aerial shootout, and Parsons and Neal were listed as the nickel linebackers for Week 1.

“It depends on the game,” McCarthy said Friday. “Game plans are really game-plan specific.”

And this game plan included 2018’s most-feared linebacker duo in the league sitting on the bench for three-quarters of it. It was a stark reversal of fortunes for both linebackers; Smith played nearly 98% of last year’s defensive snaps and had started 50 straight games before Thursday, and Vander Esch was on the field for 42% of 2020’s snaps, even despite missing much of the season due to injury.

“There’s a lot of potential left in this team,” Parsons told reporters following Thursday’s game. “There’s so much. We’re young, too; we’ve got a mixture of young guys mixed in with the old guys. I think we’ve got a chance to be a really good defense. A damn good defense.”

The old guys. Smith and Vander Esch are just 26 and 25, respectively. But, as he showed in camp, the 22-year-old Parsons seems to play at a different speed, one that renders all other Cowboys defenders in near-slow-motion.

It’s already hard to imagine an offensive game plan- from any opponent- that would put flip the snap counts to have Parsons standing on the sideline watching Smith and Vander Esch resume their former workloads.

McCarthy talked about how the night’s situational approach impacted the veteran pair’s playing time.

“I think they understand, if you just look at the big picture,” the coach explained. “Personally, I can’t speak on their behalf. If they weren’t frustrated, I’d be disappointed. These guys have played a lot of football throughout their whole career. But it’s our focus to be better as a whole as a defense, and frankly, the more players that you play, the better off you’re going to be.”

That means giving the bulk of the snaps to the best player at the position, and it’s taken astonishingly little time in Dallas for Parsons to establish himself as exactly that.

The rookie logged seven tackles Thursday night, with one pass defensed and a quarterback hit in his regular season debut.

“I thought it was a good start for him,” McCarthy said. “I think he’s beyond his years. He’s still a rookie. It’s the first time he played in an NFL game, and also, the communication responsibility that he has to handle: that’s a new experience, I don’t care where you played or how much time you get in the preseason. I thought he got off to a good start.”

But he wasn’t perfect. Brady and the Bucs got him turned around a few times, with at least one national outlet going so far as to suggest- unfairly, it turns out– that Parsons was in over his head.

“He’s got a very bright future,” McCarthy continued on Parsons. “I’m very confident that he’ll continue to grow. I thought he looked comfortable. I liked the way our young guys played. They made some mistakes, and that’s part of it. I’ve done this a lot; I’ve done it throughout my whole coaching career. We’ve always played young guys going back to ‘06, and you have to swallow hard sometimes because they get in spots and it may not be clean for them. They’re a step slow. So, you have some of that. But our young guys are into the game. It wasn’t too big for anybody. I loved the way they went about it. And that’s the first step.”

As for the rookie, he says he’s too focused on his job to be thinking about whose snaps he might be taking away.

“I’m thinking about what I can do to get off the field, what I can do to create a turnover and impact,” Parsons told reporters after the Week 1 loss. “Just doing my one-eleventh on that field and doing exceptionally good at it. That’s what I’m thinking about. Not letting those guys down, because I know when they’re out there, I want them to do the same thing.”

But if the Cowboys’ Week 1 usage of Parsons is any indication, those guys may not be out there all that often anymore.

[listicle id=679502]

[vertical-gallery id=678197]

[listicle id=679413]


Unleashing Micah Parsons among 5 keys for Cowboys’ defense vs Buccaneers

The Dallas Cowboys defense will have a tough task against the third-highest scoring offense from 2020, and here’s five ways they can do it. | From @StarConscience

The Dallas Cowboys used eight of their 11 picks in the NFL draft to revamp a defense that was 31st against the run and gave up the most points in franchise history (473) in 2020. The Cowboys are expected to be much improved on that side of the ball. However, their first test in 2021 will be huge.

Tom Brady and the Buccaneer’s offense finished third in points per game last season (30.8). Tampa Bay has weapons galore on offense. Mike Evans, Chris Goodwin, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, and OJ Howard give Brady one of the best collection of targets in the passing game throughout the NFL. At running back, they’re loaded as well with Robert Jones II, Leonard Fournette, and Giovani Bernard.

The task will be a daunting one, and here are five keys for the Cowboy’s defense to have success against the Buccaneer’s offense.


Cowboys have a Jaylon Smith problem that may not have answer in 2021

Some teams would kill to have a 26-year old player who’s been to the Pro Bowl in the last three seasons being challenged for his role. But this is Dallas. | From @KDDrummondNFL

In a way, the Cowboys have a problem many teams would love to have. The talent level at one position is so high that there are young Pro Bowl veterans being squeezed for playing time. Each and every of the 32 franchises across the league would love to have this problem, regardless of position group.

For the Cowboys, it just so happens to be linebacker. This makes things interesting because linebacker is a position that suffers a ton of attrition, so depth is necessary as any Dallas fan can attest to being the case since Sean Lee first walked through the Valley Ranch doors. Entering the offseason, the Cowboys had two big question marks sitting atop the LB depth chart, and the one that had been traced and retraced until a hole was bore through the paper is that of Jaylon Smith.

Smith signed a contract extension following his best season, 2018. In that five-year-added-on-top-of-the-two-remaining deal he was rewarded handsomely. Unfortunately since that 2018 season where he and then-rookie Leighton Vander Esch established themselves as one of the league’s top young duos, things have tumbled downhill.

Smith deserved to make the Pro Bowl in 2018 but didn’t while Vander Esch did. Smith was named in 2019, but he was hardly a Pro Bowl caliber player beyond a large number of tackles. Like most positions, volume stats tell only  a small part of the picture for players. With Smith, his shortcomings in response, pursuit, and coverage ability were coming to the forefront. His play regressed further in 2020, leading to a big offseason decision process for the front office.

Or so it seemed.

News: Trade scenarios for Cowboys LBs, eyes on Keanu Neal, Atkins to Dallas?

Possible trade scenarios for Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch are explored. Also, does Geno Atkins have a future with the Cowboys.

Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have had a rough go of it since the beginning of the 2019 season whether it be due to injury or poor play. Brian Martin of Blogging The Boys explores what the Cowboys could get for both in possible trade scenarios. The excitement of Micah Parsons and Jabil Cox is understandable, but veteran Keanu Neal’s skill set shouldn’t be overlooked as he transitions from safety to linebacker.

When it was announced that veteran defensive tackle Geno Atkins was visiting Dallas soon, the buzz of him joining the Cowboys started. Although it will be for a checkup on his torn rotator cuff, he’s still seen as a god fit in Dallas by Bleacher Report. Fixing the Cowboys turnover differential, Ben DiNucci showing his real worth, and more are covered in this edition of the news and notes.

Dressed to the 9s: Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith takes over Tony Romo’s jersey number

The linebacker will buy the existing inventory of No. 54 gear in order to wear his old college number in 2021, with the ex-QB’s blessing.

The most polarizing player on the Cowboys’ current roster is about to raise the ire of fans of the most polarizing player in the Cowboys’ recent past. But make no mistake: linebacker Jaylon Smith has a clear-eye view of what he wants.

Smith will switch to a new jersey number in 2021, going from his previous No. 54 to No. 9, the number he wore at Notre Dame and in high school. ESPN’s Todd Archer cited multiple sources as he tweeted the news.

Of course, legions of Cowboys fans still have Tony Romo jerseys hanging in their closets, so there’s sure to be a preponderance of No. 9s at AT&T Stadium this season and beyond. The Cowboys famously do not retire jersey numbers; Romo wore the digit for his entire playing career, 2003-2016.

No. 54 has a rich history within the Cowboys franchise, too, having been worn by Ring of Honor defenders Chuck Howley and Randy White.

Owner Jerry Jones said last month that while the organization prefers that negotiations over jersey numbers happen strictly between players, he did intimate that Smith assuming the number of the beloved ex-quarterback might call for an exception.

“If anybody wants 9, we’ll have to represent Romo on this side of the table,” the owner said in a press conference on draft weekend, “to determine how much it’s worth to have No. 9 on, so to speak.”

Smith did reportedly reach out to Romo about wearing his old number moving forward, as per Archer.

According to the team website, third-year safety Donovan Wilson, who had been wearing No. 37 thus far in his career, is also switching into his Texas A&M number, No. 6.

First-round draft pick Micah Parsons had already been issued the No. 11 jersey he wore at Penn State, taking over that number from wideout Cedrick Wilson.

With new rules governing the numbers that each position can legally wear, Smith would have been able to complete the switch next year for free simply by making his request. But to get out of the No. 54 for the 2021 season, Smith will have to buy out the current inventory of jerseys and shirts bearing that number.

Smith was one of the first players to post a doctored image of himself wearing his preferred number when the league revealed it would broaden its numbering restrictions.

“Those guys have to negotiate those changes,” Jones said regarding potential switches in April. “We are very aware of what happens relative to the personality’s identification with a number. It’s not frivolous.”

The amount of money Smith will have to pony up to buy out all the existing No. 54 gear won’t be frivolous, either.

[listicle id=671564]

[vertical-gallery id=670875]

[vertical-gallery id=670530]