Cowboys To Sign Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith has not played in an NFL game since the 2015 season. The Cowboys will nonetheless give the former Pro Bowler a chance.

Dallas and the former first-round edge rusher agreed on a one-year deal Wednesday night, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports tweets. While Smith has run into endless substance abuse-related trouble off the field, Glazer said the former 49ers standout is “clean and sober” at this point. He has been clean for nine months, Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News tweets.

Interestingly, this is not a league-minimum deal. The Cowboys will give Smith $2MM in base salary and are including an additional $2MM in sack incentives, Mike Garafolo of tweets. As could be expected, no guaranteed money is included here, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News adds.

Smith remains suspended indefinitely, but the Cowboys are clearly betting the new CBA will green-light his return to the league. The NFL denied a Smith reinstatement plea in December 2016. This is an interesting destination for Smith, because the Cowboys are making a similar bet with the oft-suspended Randy Gregory. The team is confident Gregory will be reinstated soon.

Smith, now 30, applied for reinstatement last month. He has not played in an NFL game since a Raiders-Vikings contest in mid-November 2015. Smith has been arrested more than a handful of times over the years, including several times since his indefinite suspension from the league. In addition to being banned under the substance-abuse policy, Smith has previously run afoul of the league’s personal conduct guidelines.

The NFL’s new CBA likely opened the door to this Cowboys move. This latest agreement features lesser penalties for non-PED positive drug tests, though DUIs will be dealt with more harshly. Smith, however, was arrested for suspicion of DUI in 2012, ’13 and ’15 — the final such incident leading to his 49ers release that year. This will be an interesting case for the NFL, but the Cowboys clearly believe Smith will be allowed back in the league.

The Cowboys may now be set to have two of the more frequent violators of the 2011 CBA’s substance-abuse policy — Smith and Gregory — rushing the passer for them. This is not exactly an out-of-the-ordinary move for the organization. The Cowboys in recent years gave a second chance to Greg Hardy, acquired Pacman Jones after a full-season suspension, kept Rolando McClain around during his suspension bouts and are still hoping Gregory will be back.

The 49ers used their No. 7 overall pick on Smith in 2011, and he delivered superstar-level work in his first two seasons. Smith registered 14 sacks as a rookie and landed on the All-Pro first team in 2012, recording 19.5 sacks for a 49ers team that voyaged to Super Bowl XLVII. He posted 8.5 sacks in 2013 but recorded only 5.5 between abbreviated 2014 and ’15 seasons. Smith latched on with the Raiders later in 2015, and Oakland re-signed him in 2016. Various off-field incidents prevented Smith from playing a second season with the Raiders.

Dallas let Robert Quinn walk in free agency and has not made it known a Michael Bennett re-up is on the table. If Smith is reinstated, he will reunite with his former position coach in San Francisco; Dallas hired Jim Tomsula to as defensive line coach this year. Tyrone Crawford has emerged as a possible starter opposite DeMarcus Lawrence. If that ends up being the case, the Cowboys would have one of the most interesting second-string defensive end tandems — if Gregory and Smith are allowed back into the league — in NFL history.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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59 comments on “Cowboys To Sign Aldon Smith

      • Carson

        Second chance? If any non profit athlete did what he did they’d be in jail still. Perfect fit for the Cowboys

        • qbert1996

          Get off your high horse man. People make mistakes and Aldon has made plenty but he’s been out of the league for 5 years now. Nothing wrong with the Cowboys or any team giving him another chance.

          • Carson

            Who cares how long he’s been out of the league as irrelevant as that stupid comment. This idiot doesn’t belong in the league. You probably thing Ray Rice should come back

            • earmbrister

              Ben The Rapist is in the league. TyREEK Hill is in the league. Lamar Hunt and Joe Mixon are in the league. Smith’s last legal problem was five years ago and didn’t involve beating a woman or child like the aforementioned “ men”. Gregory has never been arrested. There are teams out there who have much dirtier laundry when it comes to their players.

      • Talented in 2015…as long as it’s low risk to the team just bring back Sam Hurd and Greg Hardy, as long as it’s low risk to the team

    • crosseyedlemon

      Are you referring to the Mark Davis who put his wisdom on display by dumping a defensive MVP of the year?

  1. phillyballers

    Why? Why? Seriously why? Of dudes that deserve a 2nd chance, hes far down the list. Lighting 2M on fire is a better use.

  2. DTD_ATL

    I like it. Worst case scenario, he gets in trouble at little to no cost. Best case, he is a serviceable player that makes no more than 4 mil.

    • lucienbel

      Best case scenario they probably could have signed him for even less than they did, but too late for that.

      • DTD_ATL

        There’s no guaranteed money. If he stays out of trouble, even if he sucks, 2 mil is absolutely no loss at all. This is as low risk as it gets.

    • DarkSide830

      worst case scenario its a lot of bad press and an unpleasant air about how the team is willing to give so many 2nd chanses drags the locker room and morale down. im in no position to say Aldon doesn’t deserve a second chanse – he seems to have shown some proof he deserves one – but to act like there is no risk is absurd.

  3. raiderfurlife

    Instead of the two other playoff games one whole new team consisting of Brown Smith Ocho Sinco etc. etc. etc. let’s see who could be the quarterbackoh I know the guy that took cough syrup from the Raiders

  4. jetup12

    Jerry Jones signs all these guys with issues hoping that one of them actually plays well and he can be crowned a genius.

      • The 90s Cowboys (Charles Haley, Micheal Irvin and many more), won a 3 SBs.
        Terry Glenn, had a great career with the team. Before he got with the Cowboys he was arrested for domestic violence but he seemed to straighten things in the end may he RIP.
        Dez Bryant, dropped in the draft due to personality issues, but he had a successful career with the team. More TD than any Cowboy.
        Rolando McClain, had a very good run while with the team, though he reverted back to his old days.

        Granted, there were the Greg Hardys, Kavika Pittmans, and Randy Gregorys that happened but to say Jerry regularly fails at taking risks is asinine. He won 3 SBs taking risks on these kind of players.

        • HailRodgers12$

          The 90s were a long time ago. Jerry has basically zero to show for his since 1995. That’s a quarter century.

          And I don’t see another Herschel walker type trade netting him the draft capital, or Mike McCarthy becoming Jimmy Johnson, to get them back to the top.

          • I was attempting to illustrate that taking risks on troubled players isn’t one Jerry’s greatest faults. Of course there are many reasons why he is terrible as a GM, but what he did today with Smith isn’t one of them.

  5. earmbrister

    The Cowboys “in recent years” gave a second chance to … Pacman Jones ??? Mr Robinson, do you consider 2008 to be recent? How old were you TWELVE years ago?

    • byrddude88

      Greg Hardy, Rolando McClain, David Irving, Dez after he beat up his momma, Joseph Randle twice, Damien Wilson after he pointed guns at people, and don’t forget the worst of all, Josh Brent after he KILLED a teammate!!

      • byrddude88

        On less severe or unproven cases, Randy Gregory (he’s just a pothead), Terrance Williams, and do we also forget about Zeke a couple years ago…dude honked a boob on camera at St. Patrick’s day parade, while being investigated for domestic abuse

        • earmbrister

          Birdman, you make this easy. Over the last decade the Vikings “lead” the league in arrests with 34. The Cincinnati Bengals are not surprisingly second with 31. In the NFC East, the Redskins had 15 arrests, followed by the Giants with 11, the EAGLES with 10, and the Cowboys had the least with 8. The Eagles had Mychal Kendricks arrested for trading on insider tips. Nice. Nigel Bradham was arrested twice, once on gun charges and the other for assault. The Eagles continue to have problems with dogs (echoes of Michael Vick) with Thomas Hamner arrested twice for beating up his pit bull, while Damon Moore was arrested for animal cruelty for abandoning his puppy 3 days after getting it because: it was too much trouble. Jabar Gaffney arrested on a gun charge. A couple of Eagles charged with pot possession. Jason Peters, drag racing and resisting arrest.

          Yeah once again, the Cowboys with the LEAST arrests in the NFC East with 8.

  6. crosseyedlemon

    I’ve made my share of Aldon Smith jokes in the past but I would love to see him make a successful comeback. The NFL could certainly benefit from a “feel good” story and it would be pretty hard to top this one if Aldon can make it happen.

    • jjabrony

      I dont know that “feel good story” should apply to a guy that’s been arrested for DUI and endangering other drivers’ lives 3 times. That’s how many times he got caught. Imagine how many times he didnt get caught.

      So let’s save the feel goods for guys that deserve it like Eric Barry for beating cancer, or Ryan Shazier maybe playing again some day

  7. mlbnyyfan

    Jerry Jones loves to sign these type of players. Randy Gregory, Greg Hardy, David Irving the list goes on and on. The sad thing is the one player that will HAUNT Jerry Jones forever is Randy Moss by not drafting him.

    • Coal tender

      There was another – a LB from Alabama who used to play for the Raiders. The name slips my mind. He gave one good year and just quit. He had some family problems.

    • earmbrister

      The Giants love to sign these types of players:

      Jeremiah Parker arrested for manslaughter and child abuse in the shaking death of his girlfriends 4 yr old son (serving 10 years in prison). Keith Hamilton arrested for cocaine and pot possession. David Tyree arrested for having a half pound of pot with intent to distribute. Adrian Awasom, Joe Burnett, David Diehl, and Kareem McKenzie arrested for DUI. Plaxico Buress accidentally shot himself in the thigh at a NYC nightclub and sentenced to 2 years in prison. Josh Brown, Michael Bowie, and Kam Moore arrested for domestic violence. Not to mention police finding a body in Janoris Jenkins’ house.

      All of those saintly Giants arrested in the last ten years. Let’s not forget one of the all time Giant “greats” Lawrence Taylor, who was arrested about a dozen times. Arrested for buying crack cocaine from an undercover officer, arrested for DUI, arrested for another drug charge, plead guilty to filing a false tax return, arrested for being a deadbeat parent/ child support, and the big winner, arrested for third degree rape re having sex with a 16 year old prostitute.

      The Giants love to sign these types of players.

  8. 920kodiak

    Ever since they had a little success with Alonzo Spellman way back when, the Cowboys have been a halfway house for second chance guys. None have worked: Underwood, Jones, Hardy, McClain, Gregory (to this point), Irving.

    • earmbrister

      That’s the thing: all of the NFL teams take chances with players and some work out and some don’t. However, when the Cowboys fail with a risky prospect, that is all that people remember. Other teams fail more and fail in a greater way.

      Case in point: you saying that none of the players who were given a chance by the Cowboys have worked out. I dunno, it seems like the Charles Haley signing worked out pretty darn well: they won 3 SBs in his 5 seasons with Dallas. Haley was the missing piece to those SB teams and is in the NFL HOF. He later came out with his diagnosis of bi-polar disorder.

      Leon Lett was suspended for 28 games during his TEN year career with the Cowboys. Was a big part of those 3 SB teams. He’s still with Dallas as an assistant coach. Dez Bryant played 7 seasons for Dallas and that also paid off. La’el Collins was signed when no one would draft him and has 5 seasons under his very talented belt.

      None have worked, huh?

      Many teams have given “suspect” players chances and have had worse results than the Cowboys. Ask Robert Kraft about Aaron Hernandez.

  9. noraj9

    I just want to know why everyone mentions Gregory and Hardy together. Gregory smokes weed to self medicate mental issues/disorders which is legal in a number of states and apparently no longer an issue with the CBA. Hardy DDT’d his significant other on a pile of guns which is not legal in any state and obviously always going to be an issue.

  10. Wade Herbers

    LOL Cowboys don’t care… Hell Michael Irvin went to his court appearance for being a coke head wearing a purple suit with matching hat for gods sake’s and the good Cowboys fans didn’t blink. $$$$$$$$$ buys a lot of innocence.

  11. Coal tender

    You wonder why the Cowboys cannot advance into the playoffs. These bonehead decisions never pan out. Wish he had consulted with McClay before laying out money for this has-been Aldon. What five years out of the NFL? What kind of shape will Smith be in? Big difference from someone who last played at 25 and to jump start at 30. Jones should have tried harder to retain Quinn.

  12. Eatdust666

    Of course the Cowgirls would sign this kind of player, so I’m surprised they haven’t signed Vontaze Burfict yet.

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