The longtime Cowboys starter has bounced around since his Dallas stay abruptly ended early during the 2021 campaign, but teams have continued to offer opportunities. Smith, 27, played for three teams — the Cowboys, Packers and Giants — in 2021. This move comes ahead of the Giants’ Week 3 game against the Cowboys.
This could well be a practice squad agreement, but in the 16-player P-squad era, those transactions have regularly led to promotions for veterans. Teams are allowed to carry six vested veterans on practice squads. A 2016 second-round pick, Smith has 58 career starts (56 as a Cowboy) and certainly would upgrade the Giants’ experience on their defensive second level.
The Cowboys gave Smith a five-year, $63.75MM deal in 2019. Smith made the Pro Bowl that year and tallied a career-high 154 tackles in 2020, but the Cowboys went in another direction under 2021 DC hire Dan Quinn. The team has cut costs along its linebacking corps, which is now built around star hybrid player Micah Parsons‘ rookie contract.
The new Giants regime made a late-summer roster tweak by releasing two-year starter Blake Martinez, leaving an uncertain lot of defenders at this position group under new DC Don Martindale. The team has Tae Crowder positioned as its top off-ball linebacker but has not established a second full-timer at the position thus far this season.
Although Smith at his best would easily profile as a starter-caliber player in New York, teams have not viewed the former Notre Dame star as a starter-caliber player since his Cowboys release. The Packers released Smith not long after signing him last year, and the Giants did not opt to bring him back in free agency after the parties’ late-season partnership. Smith made 19 tackles and registered a sack during his four-game Giants cameo last season.