According to the official team website, the Cowboys are releasing Smith after exploring trade possibilities.
“The move doesn’t save the Cowboys anything on this year’s salary cap since his salary was guaranteed but potentially saves them from a guaranteed salary in 2022 if he were injured,” Nick Eatman wrote on the team website in explaining the move.
The Cowboys owe Smith the remainder of his $7.2 million base salary this year. His contract was guaranteed for injury for 2022 when he was scheduled to make $9.2 million in base salary and count $11.8 million against the salary cap.
Smith signed a five-year, $64 million extension in August 2019.
Even though he led the team in tackles last season, Smith faced criticism and questions about his future after the Cowboys allowed the most points in franchise history. He kept his spot on the roster out of training camp despite the additions of veteran Keanu Neal and rookie draft choices Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox.
But his role was reduced as Smith played 56 percent of the defensive snaps, including 40 percent or fewer in two of four games.