TUESDAY, 10:12am: Smith’s one-year deal with the Patriots has a base salary of $855K, and bonuses of up to $65K, which means it qualifies as a minimum salary benefit contract, tweets Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.
Smith, 32, was a first-round pick of the Saints in 2004 out of Ohio State, and had spent his entire career in New Orleans until being released just before the start of free agency. He missed all of last season after suffering a torn ACL during the preseason. In 2012, Smith played in all 16 games and garnered six sacks, but graded out as the second-worst 4-3 defensive end in the league, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Smith, who has been linked to the Pats for several months, had stated he would be open to either a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense. New England, then, rates as an excellent landing spot for the pass-rusher, as the Patriots often play a mix of both schemes. While he has no experience as an 3-4 OLB, he did spend the 2013 offseason preparing to be an outside linebacker in Rob Ryan’s defense before tearing his ACL, so perhaps that knowledge will come in handy. In New England, he adds experience to a front seven that contains a lot of youth in Jamie Collins, Chandler Jones, and Jake Bequette.