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Former Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith agrees to one-year contract with Packers

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Jaylon Smith didn't take long to find his next stop in the NFL.

One day after news broke that the Dallas Cowboys were releasing the linebacker, Smith was finalizing a deal with the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday, with the agreement complete by Thursday, his agent told ESPN.

Smith, 26, started 56 games for the Cowboys from 2017-21, including two this season, and led Dallas in tackles the past two years. He signed a five-year, $64 million extension in 2019 that included $9.2 million guaranteed for injury in 2022 that could have been triggered had he been hurt this year.

“Jaylon’s an excellent football player,” said Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy, who called the decision a "big-picture move" that factored in the team's young defensive personnel. “He played good football for us. ... I have nothing but respect for him."

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Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021.

In Green Bay, Smith will have a reunion with Packers coach Matt LaFleur, who served as Notre Dame's quarterbacks coach in 2013, the linebacker's sophomore season with the Fighting Irish.

Inside linebacker Krys Barnes could return from a concussion this week and join fellow starter De'Vondre Campbell, but Smith could be part of a rotation on the interior.

Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jaylon Smith, Green Bay Packers agree to one-year contract