13. Emmitt Smith (2003)
Smith was a key component in the Cowboys’ all-conquering 1990s dynasty. However, Dallas found itself with a $9.8 million left in the salary cap. They were set to pay the 34-year-old running back a guaranteed seven million dollars. Those numbers weren’t sustainable and they had no choice but to cut ties. They released the three-time Super Bowl champion and he moved on to play with the Arizona Cardinals.
After 13 seasons of success with the Cowboys, Smith spent the winter of his career with the Cardinals. He only played the Cowboys once during this period but described how the game made him cry (via Sportscasting). He suffered injuries during his Arizona tenure but made an impact when he did play.