Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie says that he plans to sign Aldon Smith long term, as Vic Tafur of The San Francisco Chronicle tweets. McKenzie added that the team did a lot of research on Smith before letting “him become member of our family” and, clearly, they’re happy with what they’ve seen so far.
Smith, 26, has appeared in six games and made four starts for the Raiders this season, racking up 18 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, and three pass deflections. Some teams steered clear of the troubled Smith after he was let go by the 49ers this offseason, but the Raiders gambled on him and so far that has paid off.
When healthy and on the field, Smith can be one of the league’s most effective pass rushers, as he exhibited during his first two years in the NFL. As a part-time player in his rookie season, the linebacker recorded 14 sacks, and he piled up another 19.5 as a starter in 2012, en route to a spot on the All-Pro first team.
However, Smith’s off-field issues have limited his production in 2013 and 2014 — he missed nearly half the Niners’ games over the last two seasons after entering a rehabilitation facility in 2013 and serving a nine-game suspension in 2014. Most recently, Smith was arrested by Santa Clara police on hit and run, DUI, and vandalism charges, though when he was released from jail, the outside linebacker disputed the fact that he had been driving under the influence.
The Jaguars, Buccaneers, and Rams also made contract offers to Smith, and reportedly offered more money, but Smith chose to sign with Oakland partially because of its proximity to his Bay Area home.