The team announced the decision on its website Tuesday night, confirming earlier media reports.
Smith, 26, is in his fifth NFL season. A second-round draft pick by the Cowboys in 2016 out of Notre Dame, Smith made the Pro Bowl in 2019. He started every Cowboys game from 2018-20, but came off the bench in two of Dallas’ four games this season. He was a team captain for Sunday’s win over the Carolina Panthers.
It was not immediately clear what prompted the Cowboys to make the cut four weeks into the season. Smith is owed $7.2 million this season, all of which was guaranteed when he made the team’s initial 53-man roster. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports that $9.2 million in injury guarantees for next season played a factor in the decision.
The Cowboys spent two of their last three first-round draft picks on linebackers, selecting Leighton Vander Esch in 2018 and rookie Micah Parsons in April’s draft. They did not have a first-round pick in 2019. Parsons has emerged as Rookie of the Year candidate while helping to anchor a resurgent Dallas defense this season.