The Dallas Cowboys will have some tough decisions to make at the linebacker position moving forward.
Dallas drafted former Penn State Nittany Lions star pass rusher Micah Parsons in the first round of the NFL Draft. Parsons is expected to play linebacker for the Cowboys, providing some needed depth at the position.
The Cowboys have two promising young linebackers in Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. However, Smith struggled to perform at an elite level in 2020 and Vander Esch was unable to stay healthy.
One NFL analyst believes that Smith could be cut before the 2021 season.
“Jaylon Smith, an early second-round pick in 2016, has had an up-and-down tenure with the Cowboys. He missed his entire rookie season as he recovered from a knee injury but eventually bounced back and even made a Pro Bowl in 2019,” Bleacher Report wrote.
“Dallas could save $7.2 million by designating Smith as a post-June 1 cut, which would be a huge amount of money for an organization that must continue retooling its entire defense after an horrid year.”
While Smith struggled in 2020, it’s difficult to imagine the Cowboys pulling the plug. Dallas will likely head into the season with Smith, Vander Esch and Parsons at linebacker, hoping for a big bounce back season on defense.
The Cowboys open the 2021 season on a big stage, taking on the Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football in Week 1.