Jaylon Smith has found a new home.
The linebacker agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Green Bay Packers on Thursday, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. Smith was reported to be near a deal with the Pack on Wednesday night and was finalizing details with the club.
Green Bay won a brief recruiting battle, with money not ending up being much of an issue because the Cowboys, who officially released Smith on Wednesday, is paying most of Smith's 2021 salary, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.
Smith was released by the Cowboys just four games into his fifth NFL season. The former second-round pick of Dallas ended up being the odd man out of a linebacking corps that welcomed two new additions via the 2021 draft -- Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox -- and another in the form of safety-turned-linebacker Keanu Neal.
Smith started half of Dallas' first four games in 2021 and was often paired with Leighton Vander Esch in one of two linebacking packages deployed by Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. The emergence of Parsons and Smith's hefty salary -- he signed a five-year, $64 million extension in August of 2019 -- made the decision easier for the Cowboys.
Smith joins a Packers defense in need of linebacking help. Veteran De'Vondre Campbell was making the biggest difference at the second level for the Packers, and he'll receive welcome reinforcement in Smith, an athletic linebacker who overcame a significant knee injury suffered while at Notre Dame to become an effective defender in Dallas.
Smith has been a reliable defender when it comes to availability, appearing in all 16 games in each of his previous four seasons. He racked up 154 tackles last season, and set a single-season high in sacks with four in 2018. He's broken 120 tackles in each of his last three campaigns.
The Packers will look to Smith to start immediately in a defense that currently ranks sixth in yards allowed per game and 19th in points allowed.