Jaylon Smith was born on June 14, 1995, he is an American football linebacker for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Notre Dame and was drafted 34th overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Smith attended Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he was a letterman in football, basketball, and track. In football, he won the Butkus Award as a senior, was given to the best high school linebacker in the country, and was named the Mr. Football award winner for the state of Indiana.
In 2013, Smith won the starting DOG linebacker position beating out Ben Councell, after incumbent starter Danny Spond had to retire due to migraine issues. Starting all 13 games, he recorded 67 tackles, including 6.5 for loss, one forced fumble, three pass breakups, and one interception. His best game came in a 34–30 victory against Arizona State, where he recorded nine tackles, including 1.5 for loss. He notched his first career interception against USC on a pass thrown by Cody Kessler.
Earlier in the NFL offseason, he had wrist surgery in January. He also announced his decision to change his number from 54 to 9 from his college days, despite public backlash from some fan base, saying that the number belonged to former quarterback Tony Romo. It was reported in the media, that the change forced Smith to pay a mid-six-figure sum, in order to buy back the existing inventory of jerseys and T-shirts with his old number.
On October 5, 2021, the Cowboys released Smith after he declined to waive his 2022 injury guarantee contract clause, to protect the team from a possible payment of 9.2 million dollars. He also was passed on the depth chart by rookie Micah Parsons and veteran Keanu Neal. He appeared in 4 games with 2 starts during the season.
He finished his Cowboys career with 68 games, 516 tackles (20 for loss), 9 sacks, 2 interceptions, 6 forced fumbles, and 5 fumble recoveries (including one returned for a touchdown).
On October 7, 2021, Smith signed with the Green Bay Packers. On November 2, 2021, Smith was released. He appeared in two games, tallying one tackle in 27 defensive snaps.
On December 17, 2021, Smith signed with the New York Giants practice squad. On December 18, 2021, Smith was activated from the practice squad as a COVID-19 replacement for the game against the Dallas Cowboys. On December 20, 2021, Smith was promoted to the active roster.
On September 20, 2022, Smith re-signed with the New York Giants to their practice squad. On October 1, 2022, he was promoted to the active roster.
Jaylon Smith signed a 1 year, $1,035,000 contract with the New York Giants, including an average annual salary of $1,035,000. In 2022, Smith will earn a base salary of $862,500, while carrying a cap hit of $862,500. NFL contract specifics are generally collected from verified reports.