The New Orleans Saints are finalizing their 53-man roster ahead of Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season and are making cuts to get down to that number. One surprise cut was former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith, who played well in the preseason but didn’t make the final roster.

“Saints are releasing LB Jaylon Smith, per source,” Saints insider Nick Underhill reported Tuesday. “A surprise considering how well he played in camp. Can't imagine he gets far away.”

Smith was a star linebacker at Notre Dame but tore knee ligaments in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl. That injury hurt his draft stock, and he went to the Cowboys at No. 34 in the second round instead of coming off the board in the first.

The former Fighting Irish LB missed all of 2016 but came back strong in 2017, making 81 tackles and finishing fourth for the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. Over the next three seasons, Smith started all 48 games, made over 100 tackles each year, and made the Pro Bowl in 2019.

After another injury, the Cowboys cut Smith in 2021, and since then, he’s played for the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants. He joined the Saints late in training camp this season and impressed on the field, which is why this was the surprise cut of the Saints' 53-man roster moves leading up to Week 1 of the new season.

Since Jaylon Smith was cut and not waived, he doesn’t have to clear waivers, and the Saints could potentially bring him back after making a few other moves to make space. However, there are several teams — like the Las Vegas Raiders, Buffalo Bills, and Washington Commanders — that could use LB help like Smith.