The Cowboys have placed rookie linebacker Jaylon Smith on the non-football injury list, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. As such, Smith will not be able to play for at the first six weeks of the season. Of course, the odds are that Smith won’t play during the 2016 campaign at all as he recovers from a knee injury.
In late 2015, Smith was viewed as a potential top-10 selection in the upcoming draft. However, that all changed when the Notre Dame standout tore his ACL and MCL in January. To make things worse, Smith was also diagnosed with a nerve issue in his ankle. At that point, teams began to fear that the linebacker would require a “redshirt” season in the NFL. Even though multiple teams gave Smith a failing grade on his physical at the combine and subsequently removed him from their draft boards, the Cowboys felt that Smith’s potential was just too good to pass up.
In his junior season with the Fighting Irish, Smith totaled 115 tackles with 9.0 tackles for a loss and 1 sack. In the year prior, he put up a similar statline of 111 tackles, 9.0 tackles for a loss, and 3.5 sacks. If Smith spends the season on the NFI list, as expected, he’ll be a restricted free agent in 2020 instead of an unrestricted free agent.
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