Aldon Smith

FA Notes: Smith, Keenum, Irving, Waddle

After being named as a suspect in an alleged domestic violence incident, the Raiders released linebacker Aldon Smith last week. Today, the edge rusher pleaded not guilty at his arraignment, according to TMZ Sports (via Scott Bair NBC Sports Bay Area on Twitter). The 28-year-old is currently facing “misdemeanor counts of domestic violence, assault, false imprisonment and vandalism.”

The former Pro Bowler hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since 2015, when he compiled 28 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and three passes defended in nine games (seven starts) for Oakland. Despite re-signing with the organization in 2016, Smith still hasn’t been reinstated. Smith was originally issued a one-year suspension for a hit-and-run incident in 2015.

Let’s take a look at some other notes pertaining to NFL free agency…

  • Former Vikings starter Case Keenum is pursuing a multi-year, guaranteed deal, reports Mike Jurecki of 98.7FM in Arizona (via Twitter). Meanwhile, former teammate Teddy Bridgewater is reportedly looking for a two-year deal.
  • ESPN’s Todd Archer reports that the Cowboys are likely to place a tender on restricted free agent David Irving tomorrow. The front office is still deciding whether they should slap the defensive tackle with a first- or second-round tender, which is the difference of about $1.2MM. Despite playing in only eight games, the 24-year-old arguably had his best NFL season in 2017, compiling 22 tackles and seven sacks. Irving missed eight games due to suspension and a concussion.
  • It’s unlikely the Patriots and offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle agree to a deal before Wednesday, reports NESN’s Doug Kyed (via Twitter). The 26-year-old is likely to test free agency following a 2017 campaign that saw him play in 12 games (four starts). While the lineman played 380 snaps, Pro Football Focus ranked him 64th among 81 eligible offensive tackle candidates.
  • CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora tweets that the Chiefs, Buccaneers, Colts, Broncos, and Redskins are among the teams looking to add a defensive tackle. The reporter lists free agents Dontari Poe, Star Lotulelei, and Sheldon Richardson as potential targets.

Raiders Release LB Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith‘s time with the Raiders has officially come to an end. On Monday, the Raiders announced that Smith has been released from his contract. 

Smith was named as a suspect in an alleged domestic violence incident over the weekend and cops were searching for him as recently as Sunday night. On Monday morning, TMZ Sports learned that Smith has checked into rehab. Given his history, the Raiders didn’t have to think hard about moving on from Smith.

Smith posted 3.5 sacks for Oakland in nine games during the 2015 season before being hit with a one-year suspension. He also served a nine-game ban in 2013 for violating the league’s personal conduct and substance abuse policies. Despite all of that, GM Reggie McKenzie handed Smith a two-year, $11.5MM deal in the spring of 2016.

The former first-round pick has not seen the field since November 15, 2015. At this rate, he may never don an NFL jersey again. He’s already under suspension for previous off-the-field incidents, so he’s nowhere near the radar of any club at this time.

Smith stands as one of the greatest wastes of talent in recent NFL history. In his second year as a pro, Smith amassed 19.5 sacks and 66 total tackles for the 49ers, en route to Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro selections. Even in an abbreviated 2013 campaign, Smith tallied 8.5 sacks and 34 tackles in 11 contests.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Police Searching For Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith was identified as a suspect in an alleged domestic violence incident. Police are pursuing Smith, who fled the scene Sunday after this incident occurred, Scott Bair of reports.

The victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries after this alleged altercation, which is believed to have occurred Saturday night, and the San Francisco Police Department has begun a search for the 28-year-old Smith. Bair reports SFPD Special Victims Unit would like to interview Smith upon apprehension.

Smith, who TMZ reported got engaged last week, is currently suspended from the NFL for previous off-the-field infractions. Charges being filed for this would make it difficult to believe he could work his way back into the league.

Bair reports that the two-year Raiders contract Smith signed in 2016 is not believed to have tolled for 2016 but adds that he would still be a member of the Raiders if he were reinstated. While it’s highly unlikely he’ll ever play for the Raiders again, Smith still being tied to the team would seemingly mean the 2017 season did toll.

That seems like immaterial at this point due to the litany of legal issues the former All-Pro outside linebacker has encountered.

Smith cooperated with a domestic violence investigation in February 2017 and was the passenger of a vehicle his girlfriend drove into an unmanned police car in March of last year. Reports from last year did not indicate the former first-round pick was particularly close to being reinstated after he’d applied in fall 2016. It’s quite possible Smith will not play in the NFL again. He has not played in a game since November 2015.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders’ Aldon Smith Not Close To Return

It doesn’t sound like we’ll see Aldon Smith reinstated anytime soon. The linebacker has said that he’ll be back soon, but sources close to Smith say that he has made no consistent effort to follow the program laid out for him by the league, sources tell Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Those who know him best say that he’ll have one great week followed by a week of the same old problems. Aldon Smith (vertical)

Smith’s camp was pushing for reinstatement late last season, but commissioner Roger Goodell decided to table that discussion until March 2017. In between December and March, Smith found himself under police investigation for an alleged domestic violence incident and in a separate incident was arrested for crashing into a police cruiser while driving drunk. Those events put up major barriers between Smith and a potential return and it sounds like he’s only setting himself back further with his erratic behavior.

Prior to the draft, GM Reggie McKenzie indicated that the Raiders were not banking on having Smith return in 2017.

“Our thought process is on the draft and not considering Aldon at this point,” McKenzie said. “He’s still on the suspension list, so we’re not considering him at this point.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Carr, Raiders, Gillislee, Patriots

We learned earlier this week that Raiders quarterback Derek Carr wants to wrap up extension talks by the beginning of training camp. General manager Reggie McKenzie stated yesterday that he’d prefer to get a new contract wrapped up as soon as possible, and he expressed optimism that the two sides could come to an agreement.

“I feel good about it,” McKenzie said (via Scott Bair of “When both sides want to get it done, that’s a great first step. I’m looking forward to getting it done by then.”

Carr had another productive season in 2016, completing 63.8-percent of his passes for 3,937 yards, 28 touchdowns, and six interceptions.

Let’s take a look at some other notes from around the AFC…

  • Aldon Smith is still under contract with the Raiders, although the linebacker hasn’t taken the field in more than a year after having violated the league’s substance abuse policy. The NFL hasn’t made any move to reinstate the embattled player, and McKenzie isn’t expecting a resolution anytime soon. “Our thought process is on the draft and not considering Aldon at this point,” McKenzie said (via Bair). “He’s still on the suspension list, so we’re not considering him at this point.”
  • Last offseason, when the Patriots signed restricted free agent wideout Chris Hogan, the Bills immediately made it clear that they wouldn’t be matching the contract. However, Buffalo has taken their time deciding what to do with running back Mike Gillislee, who signed an offer sheet with New England earlier this week.’s Mike Reiss wonders if the delay could be an indication that the Bills are strongly considering matching the offer.
  • Following the death of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, legal analyst (and writer) Lester Munson writes that the organization may be required to pay his family “a significant sum of money.” The NFLPA says there are “three outstanding grievances” between Hernandez and the Patriots stemming from the team’s refusal to pay the player’s $3.25MM bonus following his initial arrest. “How these are resolved will determine” whether Hernandez’s family will ultimately receive any money from the Patriots.

Aldon Smith Detained By Police

Aldon Smith is in more legal trouble. The Raiders pass-rusher was detained after crashing into a police cruiser, according to TMZ (Twitter link). Smith was reportedly drunk at the time of the incident.Aldon Smith (vertical)

This situation is merely the latest in a long line of episodes that have derailed Smith’s once promising career. A series of incidents led to Smith’s release in San Francisco despite excellent production, and while the Raiders have since given him another chance, this may be the end of the road for Smith. Thought to be nearing reinstatement by the NFL, Smith is reportedly also under investigation for an alleged domestic assault.

Smith posted 3.5 sacks for Oakland in nine games during the 2015 season before being hit with a one-year suspension (he also served a nine-game ban in 2013 for violating the league’s personal conduct and substance abuse policies). Despite that, Oakland handed Smith a two-year, $11.5MM deal last spring, and GM Reggie McKenzie has repeatedly expressed support for the troubled young talent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Smith, Tyrod, Cutler, Steelers

Already under police investigation for an alleged domestic violence incident that took place last Saturday, Raiders pass rusher Aldon Smith is now on the NFL’s radar, writes Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. “We are looking in to the matter,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told McDonald in an email Tuesday. Smith has been serving a substance abuse suspension since November 2015 and has a chance to gain reinstatement in March, but the league could push back its decision or even hand him an indefinite ban as a result of his latest off-field issue, per McDonald.

Elsewhere in the AFC…

  • If the Bills move on from quarterback Tyrod Taylor, they should sign soon-to-be released Bears signal-caller Jay Cutler to replace him, opines Bill Barnwell of in a piece focusing on potential offseason moves in the AFC East. Tony Romo or Jimmy Garoppolo are more appealing choices, Barnwell acknowledges, but he doesn’t expect the former to sign in Buffalo (if the Cowboys cut him) or the Patriots to trade the latter within the division. If those two are unattainable, the draft could be an option, though Barnwell argues that the Bills shouldn’t reach for a QB with the 10th overall pick. That would leave Cutler as the most logical solution. Not only would he come on a short-term deal, but he’d reunite with new Bills offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. Cutler played under Dennison in Denver and has spoken highly of him in the past.
  • Speaking of Taylor, the Browns’ hiring of his former quarterbacks coach, David Lee, increased the passer’s odds of ending up in Cleveland, contends Mary Kay Cabot of Taylor, who’s on the Browns’ “radar,” played under Lee in Buffalo the past two seasons and fared respectably in his first 29 games as a starter. The former Baltimore backup would replace Robert Griffin III, whom Cabot expects the Browns to release before his roster bonus is due March 11.
  • The Steelers’ contract talks with wide receiver Antonio Brown and linebacker Lawrence Timmons don’t figure to move quickly, tweets CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, who expects running back Le’Veon Bell to be their biggest priority. Unlike Brown, who has another year on his deal, both Timmons and Bell could become free agents next month. Bell is clearly the more valuable of the two, of course, and the Steelers will place the franchise tag on the runner if they’re unable to re-sign him.

Aldon Smith Under Police Investigation

Troubled Raiders pass rusher Aldon Smith is under “active” police investigation for an alleged domestic violence incident that took place over the weekend, according to TMZ. Police responded to a phone call placed from a San Francisco home early Saturday morning and took a report after speaking to Smith and the alleged victim. Smith was not arrested.

Aldon Smith (vertical)

If anything comes of the police investigation, it could be a death blow to Smith’s NFL career. The 27-year-old has already accrued five arrests since entering the NFL as the 49ers’ first-round pick (No. 7 overall) in 2011. He’s also amid his second suspension, one that cost him a significant portion of the 2015 season and the entire 2016 campaign. Smith’s latest ban came after violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and he’s currently on track to gain reinstatement in March. But another serious off-field slip-up before then – which this could be – would surely prevent the league from allowing him to return.

While Smith is under Raiders control through next season, team owner Mark Davis has taken a strong stand against domestic violence, as Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News notes (Twitter link). As evidenced in the cases of Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Josh Brown, all of whom were in the news for domestic violence incidents in recent years, it’s difficult to find work in the league these days with such a black mark on your resume. Like Hardy, Smith has been especially productive on the field. In 59 career regular-season games, Smith has amassed 47.5 sacks and five forced fumbles, though his immense talent has largely gone to waste over the past couple years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Aldon Smith To Be Reinstated In March

As long as he does not suffer any further setbacks in the league’s drug program, Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith will be reinstated in March, according to Ian Rapoport of (via Twitter).

Aldon Smith (vertical)

Of course, Smith was eligible to be reinstated from his latest suspension back in November, but the league deferred his request in December, opting to table its decision until the early part of the 2017 league year. Smith is under Raiders’ control through the 2017 season, so he will have the opportunity to put his off-field struggles behind him, reestablish himself as a pass rusher, and set himself up for a nice payday in 2018.

But that will be a tall order for a player who, for all his talent, has been largely unable to keep himself out of trouble. Indeed, Smith’s most recent suspension, a one-year ban, stemmed from his August 2015 arrest on drunken driving, hit and run, and vandalism charges. That was the fifth time Smith had been arrested since he entered the league as the seventh overall pick of the 2011 draft. The 49ers, who drafted Smith and who reaped the benefits of his fearsome pass rush ability for several seasons, had simply had enough at that point, and they cut Smith shortly after the arrest.

He was subsequently scooped up by the Raiders, and he posted 3.5 sacks for Oakland in nine games during the 2015 season before being hit with the one-year suspension (he also served a nine-game ban in 2013 for violating the league’s personal conduct and substance abuse policies). Despite that, Oakland handed Smith a two-year, $11.5MM deal last spring, and GM Reggie McKenzie has repeatedly expressed support for the troubled young talent.

In just 59 career games, Smith has racked up 47.5 sacks, so if he is able to stay on the field in 2017, he and newly-minted Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack could give opposing quarterbacks fits next season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Palmer, 49ers, Saints, Bears

The Cardinals don’t know if quarterback Carson Palmer will return in 2017 for what would be his age-37 season, but one new rumbling on the three-time Pro Bowler could be cause for pessimism. Palmer has put his Arizona home up for sale, pulled his kids out of school and relocated to another state, Mike Jurecki of FOX Sports 910 hears (Twitter link via one of Jurecki’s colleagues, Jody Oehler). But Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic has radically different information, tweeting that Palmer has not put his house up for sale. For now, Palmer is under contract through 2018 and set to rake in a $15MM base salary next season.

More from the NFC:

  • The 49ers are suing one of their former stars, Raiders pass rusher Aldon Smith, for $341,630.18 in signing bonus money, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. That figure represents the amount of money Smith hasn’t repaid the team since the NFL hit him with a nine-game suspension in 2014, when he was docked $1,186,027 for serving the ban. Despite an arbitrator’s order to repay the 49ers within 30 days, Smith hasn’t done so, thus leading to the lawsuit. The 27-year-old is currently serving another suspension and didn’t play at all this season as a result.
  • The Saints have added Curtis Johnson (wide receivers) and Brad Banta (special teams) to their coaching staff, relays Mike Triplett of The hiring of Johnson is no surprise, as there was informed speculation Monday that he’d return to New Orleans after rejecting a contract offer to stay in Chicago. Johnson coached the Saints’ receivers from 2006-11, and newly hired Jets offensive coordinator John Morton‘s exit opened to the door for Johnson to rejoin the club. Banta, who was with the Redskins, will take over a Saints special teams unit that ranked 27th in the league in DVOA this season.
  • Bears director of player development Jerry Butler has retired, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. The former wide receiver took the job in 2015, and he focused on helping the Bears’ young players adjust to the NFL during his two-year stint. Butler was a popular figure among the Bears’ youngsters – including standout rookie Leonard Floyd – per Biggs.
  • In what will be yet another Bears departure, assistant special teams coach Richard Hightower is set to leave Chicago to become the 49ers’ ST coach under soon-to-be head coach Kyle Shanahan, tweets Sporting News’ Alex Marvez. Shanahan and Hightower were college teammates at the University of Texas, and they have since worked together on coaching staffs in Houston, Washington and Cleveland. Hightower’s tenure in San Francisco will be his second – he was its assistant ST coach in 2015.