That's exactly the functional meaning of the verse as translated by the NLT so precisely.
JFB commentary states:
passed between the parts thereof—The contracting parties in the "covenant" (not here the law in general, but their covenant made before God in His house to emancipate their slaves, Jer 34:8; Jer 34:9) passed through the parts of the animal cut in two, implying that they prayed so to be cut in sunder (Mt 24:51; Greek, "cut in two") if they should break the covenant (Gen 15:10; Gen 15:17).
Not only the cutting covenant symbolizes the binding oath of the curse, the circumcision is the personal covenant which symbolizes the same thing; if a man breaks the covenant, he is to be cut off from his land. The New covenant believers are under the same kind of covenant oath.
[Matt 24:48-51 NLT] But what if the servant is evil and thinks, 'My master won't be back for a while,' and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The Deuteronomy 27 blessings and curse on the two mountains shows the same kind of oath covenant. Some Ancient parallel examples from Cutting Covenants, Jared T. Parker:
Second millennium BC covenants. Two of the earliest extrabiblical texts describing the slaughter of an animal to make a covenant are from the eighteenth century BC. In a letter found in the ancient city of Mari in modern Syria, Ibal-Il reported to King Zimri-Lim: “I went to Aslakka to ‘kill an ass’ between the Hanu and Idamaras. . . . I caused the foal of an ass to be slaughtered. I established peace between the Hanu and Idamaras.” The expression “kill an ass” apparently “means simply ‘make a treaty,’ which was solemnized by the sacrifice of a young ass.” In another text found in the ancient city of Alalakh in modern Turkey, we read that Abban “placed himself under oath” to give Alalakh to Iarimlim “and had cut the neck of a sheep,” saying, “If I take back that which I gave thee!” The implication is that Abban’s life would be cut off if he took the city back from Iarimlim.
Most of the other currently known examples of covenants made in the second millennium are Hittite treaties from the fourteenth to twelfth centuries BC, the majority of which are between a king and a vassal. Regarding the ratification ceremony of these treaties, apparently much variety existed, but it was “frequently associated with the sacrifice of an animal,” and it is generally assumed that after “the animal was killed, the vassal could expect the same fate if he violated his oath.” Because the texts of the treaties from this period “do not contain a verbal oath formula,” the animal sacrifice is thought to be “the enactment of the oath” such that “a verbal formula is unnecessary in the text of the treaty itself.”
First millennium BC covenants. Several extrabiblical texts describe covenants from the first millennium BC in which the cutting or killing of an animal represents what would happen to a vassal who violated his agreement with the king. This is evidenced by simile curses in the treaties where the offending vassal is graphically identified as becoming “like” or “as” a slaughtered animal. From the eighth century BC Sefire inscription, we have a treaty between King Barga’yah and Matti‘el that includes this statement: “[As] this calf is cut up, thus Matti‘el and his nobles shall be cut up.” Note the slaughter of a calf as part of making the covenant and the curse—Matti‘el and his associates will become as the cut-up calf if they break the agreement.
Also from the eighth century BC is a treaty between King Ashurnirari V of Assyria and Mati’ilu (possibly the same as Matti‘el above). A part of this treaty reads:
This spring lamb has been brought from its fold not for sacrifice, not for a banquet, not for a purchase; . . . it has been brought to sanction the treaty between Ashurnirari and Mati’ilu. If Mati’ilu sins against (this) treaty made under oath by the gods, then, just as this spring lamb, brought from its fold, will not return to its fold. . . . Mati’ilu, together with his sons, daughters, officials, and the people of his land . . . will not return to his country, and not behold his country again. This head is not the head of a lamb, it is the head of Mati’ilu, it is the head of his sons, his officials, and the people of his land. If Mati’ilu sins against this treaty, so may, just as the head of this spring lamb is torn off, . . . the head of Mati’ilu be torn off.
From the seventh century BC we have another Assyrian example in which King Esarhaddon sought to secure the throne for his sons through a treaty with his vassals. This treaty was made under oath and contains numerous simile curses, including the following: “Just as this ewe is cut open and the flesh of its young placed in its mouth, so may he . . . make you eat in your hunger the flesh of your brothers, your sons, and your daughters. Just as (these) yearlings and spring lambs, male and female, are cut open and their entrails are rolled around their feet, so may the entrails of your sons and daughters be rolled around your feet.” Again we see that animal slaughter represented the curse for violating a covenant during this period.