Former All-Pro pass rusher Aldon Smith was given another chance in the NFL by the Dallas Cowboys a season ago after being away from the league for four seasons due to multiple suspensions.
Smith, 31, responded by playing stellar football while keeping his head clean off the field. The former San Francisco 49ers top-seven pick registered 50 pressures, 14 quarterback hits and five sacks in 16 games (all starts).
Shockingly, Dallas opted against retaining Smith ahead of the start of free agency. According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, he’s now in Seattle to meet with the pass-rush starved Seahawks. Here’s three reasons why Aldon Smith to the Pacific Northwest makes a ton of sense.
Seattle Seahawks have an obvious need
Despite retaining Carlos Dunlap and signing Kerry Hyder from the division-rival San Francisco 49ers during NFL free agency, the Seahawks still have a major need out on the edge. Safety Jamal Adams is the team’s leading returning sack-getter from a season ago. Meanwhile, defensive tackle Jarran Reed was second on that list before Seattle surprisingly released him earlier in the offseason.
With only three selections in the 2021 NFL Draft, it’s going to be hard for Seattle to address this position. It’s also important to note that 2019 first-round pick L.J. Collier has been an absolute bust in two seasons — recording a combined seven quarterback hits and three sacks in 27 games. Smith fills a need as a rotational pass rusher with Dunlap and Hyder while the Seahawks won’t have to rely on Collier.
Aldon Smith would be another example of second chances in Seattle
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been campaigning for his team to sign free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown. Seattle also took a chance on fellow embattled veteran Josh Gordon before that situation came to a head with him being suspended once again.
Call it foolish. Maybe there’s a sense of bravado within the Seahawks’ organization. Whatever it is, Pete Carroll and Co. believe that they can reform troubled players. Having kept his house in order off the field recently, Aldon Smith could end up being that surprising success story in the Emerald City.
Aldon Smith would be a row-risk signing for the Seahawks
As evidenced by the fact that he’s still on the free-agent market, interest in Smith’s services has not been great. It makes perfect sense with the plethora of off-field issues he’s dealt with since San Francisco made the Missouri product a first-round pick back in 2011.
On the field, there’s still untapped potential. From 2011-13 with the 49ers, Smith registered 74 quarterback hits and 42 sacks. While we’re years removed from him dominating at that clip, the edge rusher showed flashes of being the same player in 2020 with Dallas. Anything similar to that type of production for Seattle in 2021 would help an otherwise questionable defense turn it around.