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Cowboys news: Jaylon Smith will reportedly join the Packers

The Cowboys made a surprise roster move releasing Jaylon Smith just four weeks into the 2021 season

Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Packers shore up defense, reportedly sign Jaylon Smith after surprise release from Cowboys - Chris Cwik, Yahoo Sports

Look like the Cowboys former linebacker has a new home.

Another veteran is joining Aaron Rodgers in what could be his final season with the Green Bay Packers. The team will reportedly finalize a deal with former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith on Thursday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Smith — who was surprisingly released by the Cowboys on Tuesday — didn’t sit on the market for long. He reportedly wanted to sign with the Packers, and had conversations with the team Wednesday.

9 Questions: Why did the Cowboys release Jaylon Smith now of all times? - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire

Still have questions as to why the Cowboys decided to move on from Jaylon? Some context.

Dallas signed [Keanu] Neal in the offseason for more money than any other free agent acquisition in a frugal offseason and then spent their first overall draft pick and a fourth rounder on the position.

The impact was immediately felt. Smith’s snap count through four games in 2021 was down to just 120, or 61.9% of snaps. That’s with Neal missing the last two contests due to a positive COVID test and Micah Parsons playing extensive time at defensive end. In the two games Neal was available, Smith played just 51.4% of available linebacker snaps.

As for how well he has been playing, it’s been a mixed bag. The lesser amount of snaps seem to be better for him as he hasn’t been credited with a missed tackle all season. Still, Smith has been seen shooting the incorrect gaps, flailing at ball carriers without giving real effort to make a play and generally has been more of a hinderance than help thus far in 2021. He’s certainly made a few plays, but the limitations are clear to see and Dallas has better solutions for less money and more importantly, there’s a 2022 financial risk to continuing to put Smith on the field when better options are available.

NFL, La’el Collins trade statements over his lawsuit - Mike Florio, PFT

La’el Collins has filed a lawsuit over his suspension.

Cowboys tackle La’el Collins has filed a lawsuit against the NFL attacking the remainder of his five-game suspension, based on arguments that the substance-abuse policy doesn’t permit suspensions for missed tests and that the NFL misrepresented to an arbitrator that Collins previously had been suspended four games.

Both sides have issued statements regarding the situation.

Said the NFL, “The suit is meritless as already determined by two jointly-appointed NFL-NFLPA impartial arbitrators who have reviewed this. We will seek to have this case dismissed as soon as possible.”

Collins’s lawyers understandably struck a far different tone.

“La’el has filed this proper action to defend his name and reputation,” said Peter Schaffer, and NFLPA-certified agent and lawyer who has represented Collins in this matter. “We hold the NFL in the highest regard and believe that they should be held to a high level of ethics prior to imposing the ultimate discipline, i.e. a suspension. The NFL’s statement is a perfect example of their bullying tactics The NFL wants to defend against an action where they made material misrepresentations to have La’el suspended by making material misrepresentations in the press response. The response is replete with misrepresentations. For example there was one arbitrator not two. We look forward to getting La’el back on the field as fast as possible.”

Collins has sought a temporary restraining order, aimed at ending his suspension immediately.

Cowboys activate LB Keanu Neal, DE Bradlee Anae from Reserve/COVID-19 list - SportsDay Staff, DMN

The Cowboys got some reinforcements on defense.

While the Cowboys' defense has played fantastic in recent weeks, it's nevertheless been hamstrung by injuries and Reserve/COVID-19 list-related absences. This week, some key pieces at last return.

On Wednesday, the Cowboys announced that they have activated linebacker Keanu Neal and defensive end Bradlee Anae from the Reserve/COVID-19 list, meaning both will be available for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants. The move comes a day after the team released linebacker Jaylon Smith.

Neal returned to practice Wednesday after missing the Cowboys’ last two games because of a positive test for the virus.

Twelve players have landed on the list with a positive test or a close contact for the Cowboys this season. That doesn’t include defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who also contracted the virus even though he was vaccinated.

Trevon Diggs Picks Up Another NFL Award - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com

Trevon Diggs has been a revelation for the Cowboys’ secondary in 2021, leading the league in interceptions through four weeks with five. Along the way, he’s racking up plenty of awards and distinctions.

With two interceptions last Sunday in the Cowboys’ convincing win over Carolina, Diggs is now racking up some honors this month as well.

Diggs was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week by the league for his performance Sunday in the 36-28 win over the Panthers. After getting the interceptions in the third quarter, the Cowboys were able to pull away and then hold on for the win, despite Diggs missing the fourth quarter due to back tightness.

He became the first Cowboys player in 60 years to begin a season with an interception in each of the first four games. His five picks in 2021 leads the entire NFL.

Diggs becomes the first Cowboys player at any position to win the defensive honor, joining Xavier Woods in 2019. Diggs is the first cornerback to win the award in nine years (Brandon Carr, vs. Pittsburgh, 2012).

Updates: Michael Gallup out Sunday, likely longer - Nick Eatman, Rob Phillips, David Helman, DallasCowboys.com

If you were anticipating Michael Gallup’s return this week now that he’s technically eligible, you should probably temper expectations. The oft-overlooked, yet talented, receiver isn’t quite ready to suit up just yet.

The Cowboys will continue to be without wide receiver Michael Gallup in their upcoming game against the Giants despite being eligible to return under NFL rules after spending four weeks on the injured reserve. Gallup injured his calf in the second half of the Cowboys’ opening game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Mike McCarthy didn’t sound like the playmaker was particularly close to suiting up in a game.

“He’s making progress,” McCarthy said. “I’m not going to give you timelines. He won’t be available this week. I’d be hard pressed to think he’ll be available [the following week] in New England.”

After the Patriots game on Oct. 17, the Cowboys have a bye week before returning to the field in Minnesota on Oct. 31.

3 Mistakes the Cowboys Must Avoid in October - Alex Ballenstine, Bleacher Report

Despite the rash of injuries and Reserve/COIVD-19 List absences, things have largely gone smoothly for the Dallas Cowboys, as evidenced by their 3-1 start. As they stand before a three-game stretch of New York, New England, and Minnesota, however, they’ll need to keep themselves grounded and focused.

The DeMarcus Lawrence injury continues to haunt the Dallas defense. Through four weeks of play, the Cowboys have nine sacks but are among one of the league’s most tame pass-rushing teams.

They are also one of the more conservative teams in the league when it comes to bringing pressure. Dan Quinn’s crew is 22nd in pressure percentage (22.2 percent) and 22nd in blitz percentage (21.2).

Last season, the Falcons blitzed almost 10 percent more under Quinn than what he is doing with the Dallas defense this year.

In Lawrence’s absence, Micah Parsons has taken over as the team’s primary pass-rush threat. He has 11 total pressures and 2.5 sacks, while Randy Gregory has eight pressures and two sacks.

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