Aldon Smith

NFC West Notes: Seahawks, Watt, 49ers

After starting 16 games for the Cowboys last season, Aldon Smith has seen his career veer off track again. The Seahawks cut the talented edge defender last week, and Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes the team did not do so because of Smith’s on-field work. This was a non-football-related exit for Smith, whom Pete Carroll said (via the Tacoma News Tribune’s Greg Bell; video link) “couldn’t hang with” the Seahawks despite the team giving the suspension risk a “real shot.” The Seahawks signed Smith in April, but shortly after that agreement, the 32-year-old pass rusher was booked on a battery charge. He also was not in good enough shape to participate in Seattle’s June minicamp, raising more red flags about his 2021 viability. Smith was out of football from 2016-19, but Roger Goodell greenlit his reinstatement last year. Smith recorded five sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown with Dallas.

Here is more from Seattle and the latest from elsewhere in the NFC West:

  • The third and fourth seasons of Jamal Adamsfour-year, $70MM extension do not include any guaranteed money, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. That said, the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl safety will collect all but $2.56MM of his $38MM in guarantees by February 2022. Because of Adams’ $20MM signing bonus being spread throughout the deal, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, the 2021 cap hit will be just $5MM. Adams’ contract also includes $2.75MM in incentives. Adams can collect $250K for each season he notches the rare (for other safeties, but in play for him) five-sack, three-interception double. The 25-year-old defender interestingly has just two career INTs, but he has met the sack requirement here twice — 6.5 in 2019, a safety-record 9.5 in 2020.
  • Aaron Banks had a good chance to become a 49ers starting guard in Week 1, but his lineup path will be delayed. The second-round pick suffered a shoulder injury in San Francisco’s first preseason game; he will be sidelined for as many as three weeks. While the Iowa product should be healthy at some point in September, Matt Barrows of The Athletic writes (subscription required) that this should allow Daniel Brunskill to keep his starting right guard spot come Week 1. Brunskill started all 16 49ers games at right guard last season.
  • The Cardinals won the J.J. Watt sweepstakes, but they hope to decrease the future Hall of Famer’s workload this season. They want Watt to play closer to 65% of their defensive snaps this season, rather than venturing into the 90% neighborhood, Jim Trotter of NFL.com notes. Despite his run of injuries in the late 2010s, Watt played 91% of the Texans’ snaps last season. In his seven non-injury-limited seasons, the five-time All-Pro played at least 88% of Houston’s defensive snaps. With Watt already dealing with a hamstring injury that will likely shelve him until Week 1, Arizona D-line coach Brentson Buckner is hoping to lighten his workload to maximize his productivity and extend his career.
  • After suffering a foot fracture for the second straight summer, Seahawks tight end Colby Parkinson received some good news. The break will not require surgery, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. This will allow for a quicker return for the Stanford product. Prior to the setback, Parkinson was set to see time alongside Gerald Everett and Will Dissly this season.

Seahawks Cut Aldon Smith

The Seahawks have released defensive end Aldon Smith (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). He’ll be a full fledged free agent this week, but his off-the-field situation and conditioning might keep him off the field for a while.

Smith joined the Seahawks in April but was booked on a battery charge just days later. On top of that, Smith wasn’t in good enough shape to participate in minicamp this summer. The Seahawks were disappointed to say the least – Smith could have been a valuable addition to the front seven at a reasonable rate. His one-year deal was worth only $1.12MM with just $137K guaranteed.

With the former All-Pro edge defender out of the picture, the Seahawks will move forward with Carlos Dunlap, Benson Mayowa, and former 49er Kerry Hyder. They’ve also got former first-round pick L.J. Collier to help at defensive end.

Smith seemed to be on the right track after starting in all 16 games for the Cowboys last season. After missing full four years due to suspension, he finished out with five sacks, two fumble recoveries, and 14 quarterback hits.

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Latest On Seahawks, Aldon Smith

After attempting to trade for Aldon Smith ahead of last year’s deadline, the Seahawks signed him in April. The talented pass rusher, however, has not enjoyed a smooth offseason in Seattle.

In addition to being booked on a battery charge less than a week after agreeing to terms with the Seahawks, Smith did not participate in Seattle’s offseason program. The 31-year-old defensive end did not view himself as being in sufficient shape to participate, and Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes the Seahawks gave him permission to skip minicamp. Smith has not been arraigned for the incident in New Orleans.

Given the off-field issues that sidetracked Smith’s career during his time with the 49ers and Raiders, the minicamp absence — excused or not — should not provide a good sign regarding the embattled pass rusher’s status with his new team. The former All-Pro edge defender should not be considered a lock to make the Seahawks’ 53-man roster, with Henderson adding the Seahawks view Smith as a luxury rather than a player they will count on this season.

Smith signed a one-year deal worth $1.12MM, with just $137K guaranteed, and his contract came during an offseason in which the Seahawks were busy on their defensive front. Seattle re-signed Carlos Dunlap and Benson Mayowa and added Kerry Hyder after his productive 49ers season. The team also has former first-round pick L.J. Collier at defensive end. While Smith’s ceiling may still be higher than some of his new D-line teammates’, a rocky offseason may well work against him.

Smith did play 16 games with the Cowboys last season, recording five sacks and 14 quarterback hits, and started throughout despite missing four full seasons due to a suspension. But his status with the Seahawks will be worth monitoring during the leadup to the regular season.

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Aldon Smith Booked On Battery Charge

Aldon Smith turned himself in to authorities Tuesday night and was booked on a second-degree battery charge, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets.

A warrant went out for Smith’s arrest earlier this week for an incident that took place Saturday. The recent Seahawks acquisition has been accused of assaulting an acquaintance outside a coffee house in New Orleans. Smith, 31, is now free on bond, Gehlken adds.

Smith, however, contends he did not touch the man who is accusing him of assault, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. The alleged dispute was between Smith and members of his family and the husband of Smith’s pregnant sister, according to Florio.

The Seahawks signed Smith to a low-cost one-year deal. While the veteran pass rusher remains a member of the Seahawks, this latest arrest could change that status. Smith battled past legal issues during his first NFL run and during the ensuing four-plus-year hiatus. The Cowboys ended Smith’s exile from the NFL but elected not to re-sign him this offseason.

Contract Details: Smith, Falcons, Texans

Here are the details from some of the league’s most recently agreed-upon contracts:

  • Cordarrelle Patterson, WR (Falcons): One year, $3MM. The decorated kick returner’s contract includes a $1.7MM base salary and $1.3MM signing bonus, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com tweets.
  • DeMarcus Walker, DL (Texans): One year, $1.5MM. The ex-Broncos D-lineman will receive $500K guaranteed and can earn up to $200K in per-game roster bonuses, per veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson (on Twitter). Walker’s deal will count $1.45MM against the Texans’ cap.
  • Jaleel Johnson, DL (Texans): One year, $1.3MM. Johnson will see $300K of his $1MM base salary guaranteed, Wilson tweets. A $350K incentive also exists within this deal.
  • Roderick Johnson, T (Texans): One year, $1.15MM. Johnson will receive $350K guaranteed. He will be attached to a $920K base salary and can collect $130K in per-game roster bonuses, Wilson tweets.
  • Aldon Smith, DE (Seahawks): One year, $1.13MM. Smith agreed to a deal that includes a nonguaranteed $990K base salary, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com tweets. He will collect a $137K signing bonus, with the contract counting at $988K on Seattle’s cap sheet.
  • Lane Taylor, G (Texans): One year, $1.13MM. Taylor will collect a $138K signing bonus and count $988K toward Houston’s cap, Wilson tweets.
  • Duron Harmon, S (Falcons): One year, $1.1MM. Harmon will receive $363K guaranteed, per Rothstein. He will count $988K against Atlanta’s cap.

Seahawks’ Aldon Smith Wanted For Battery

Just a few days after the Seahawks signed pass rusher Aldon Smith, there are already complications. Smith is wanted in New Orleans on a charge of second-degree battery, Travers Mackel of WDSU tweets.

The bulletin from the sheriff’s office says Smith is wanted for an alleged battery that happened on April 17 outside the French Press Coffee House. An acquaintance of Smith’s accused the 31-year-old defender of assault, according to a police report (via NOLA.com’s Amie Just, on Twitter). A warrant went out for Smith’s arrest.

It’s an unfortunate development who just finally got back on the field last season after many years of off-field issues. The seventh overall pick of the 2011 draft by the 49ers, Smith became an instant star and racked up 19.5 sacks while picking up a first-team All-Pro nod in 2012.

Things unraveled pretty quickly after that, as Smith was hit with a series of suspensions for various substance abuse and legal issues. After not having played in a game since the 2015 season, he improbably managed to return to the NFL with the Cowboys last year.

He had five sacks and a fumble recovery touchdown in 16 games with Dallas. The Seahawks had been interested for a while, as they tried to trade for him at the trade deadline. It’s unclear if their interest is strong enough for them to put up with this latest incident. It wouldn’t be surprising if Seattle elects to cut ties and not deal with the headache. Smith will turn 32 in September.

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Seahawks To Sign Aldon Smith

The Seahawks have agreed to a one-year deal with Aldon Smith (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport). The deal came together pretty quickly, following the edge rusher’s Wednesday visit. 

[RELATED: Lockett Wants To Finish Career With Seahawks]

Smith’s multitude of suspensions and off-the-field incidents kept him out of the league for years. He was pretty much off of everyone’s radar, up until last year when the Cowboys signed him to a low-cost one-year deal. Smith managed to shake off the rust, tallying five sacks, two fumble recoveries, and 14 quarterback hits on 73% of Dallas’ defensive snaps.

All of Smith’s sacks came in the first half of the season. Around that time, the Seahawks took notice and tried to pry the veteran away from the Cowboys just before the deadline. Even though they were rebuffed, they managed to get their man a few months later.

After recording 46 sacks last year to finish seventh in the league, the Seahawks have done their best to keep the band together. Carlos Dunlap — the Seahawks’ Plan B when the Smith talks fell through — was re-signed to a two-year deal in late March. Smith will be joined up front by Benson Mayowa, who has a fresh one-year contract, and fellow newcomer Kerry Hyder, who joined on a three-year, $16.5MM accord.

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Seahawks Host Aldon Smith

Cowboys free agent pass rusher Aldon Smith will visit the Seahawks today, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). 

Smith, once one of the best pass-rushers in the league, hadn’t played since the 2015 season before improbably returning to the field last year with the Cowboys. He played pretty well, considering the rust, racking up 48 tackles, five sacks, and a pair of fumble recoveries. In the midst of his comeback season, the Seahawks tried to work out a trade with the Cowboys. When they declined, the Seahawks pivoted to accomplished Bengals sack artist Carlos Dunlap.

The Seahawks have made a habit of collecting highly-drafted players in the later stages of their careers. Smith — the seventh overall pick in 2011 — would fit the mold. He achieved star status early in the NFL, making first-team All-Pro in 2012 with 19.5 sacks. Unfortunately, off-the-field issues quickly derailed his career and caused him to miss games in every season to follow.

The 31-year-old (32 in September) profiles as a potential low-risk, high-reward pickup for the Seahawks. If signed, he’ll join Dunlap and newcomer Kerry Hyder in the front seven.

 

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Cowboys In Discussions With LB Sean Lee

The Cowboys remain in discussions with longtime linebacker Sean Lee, according to head coach Mike McCarthy (via Jon Machota of The Athletic). The 34-year-old is a candidate to retire, but he is apparently interested in a 12th season in Dallas.

The oft-injured ‘backer is long removed from his days as an elite defender, but he could still be useful in a rotational role. Though he played in just nine games in 2020, he played in all 16 contests in 2019 (including 13 starts) and ended that season on a high note. He tallied double-digit tackles in two of his final five games in 2019 and finished out with 86 stops, a sack, an interception, and four passes defensed, leading to a one-year, $4.5MM re-up last offseason.

But sports hernia surgery delayed Lee’s 2020 debut until Week 8, and he wound up recording just 20 tackles while playing in 16% of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps (both career lows outside of the 2014 season, which was wiped out completely due to an ACL tear). If he were to return, it would likely be for much less than his $4.5MM 2020 salary, and he would be the fourth LB on the depth chart behind Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, and free agent acquisition Keanu Neal. The Cowboys, though, should have a real chance to win the NFC East in 2021, and Lee may want to sign up for one more chance at a deep postseason run.

In related news, McCarthy pushed back on a recent report indicating the Cowboys have informed Aldon Smith that he won’t be retained. One of 2020’s best comeback stories, Smith is not a great fit in the 4-3 scheme that Dallas will run under new DC Dan Quinn, so the report didn’t come as much of a surprise. Still, McCarthy said the team remains in contact with the 31-year-old pass rusher.

“That’s still fluid,” McCarthy said. “I personally haven’t moved on. I was in a conversation yesterday about Aldon, so we’ll see how that works out moving forward. … We’re still talking there.”

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Cowboys Won’t Re-Sign Aldon Smith

Aldon Smith made an impressive comeback to the NFL last season, but if he wants a go around, it won’t be with the Cowboys. Dallas has informed the defensive end that they’ll be moving on from him and won’t re-sign him, a source told Ed Werder of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

It’s interesting because Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made it sound like back in November that he wanted to keep Smith in the fold. Werder noted in a follow-up tweet that the Cowboys’ desire to give Randy Gregory an expanded role and their recent signing of defensive end Tarell Baham both played a part in the decision.

Once one of the best pass-rushers in the league, Smith hadn’t played since the 2015 season before improbably returning to the field last year. Considering it was his first game action in five years he played pretty well, racking up 48 tackles, five sacks, and a couple of fumble recoveries.

The seventh overall pick of the 2011 draft, Smith became a star right away with the 49ers and was a firs-team All-Pro in 2012 when he had an eye-popping 19.5 sacks. Unfortunately, off-field issues quickly derailed his career and caused him to miss games in every season after that.

After a third DUI arrest in 2015, Smith was cut by the 49ers and signed with the Raiders, playing in nine games for them that season. It would be his last NFL action for a while. Suspended numerous times and denied reinstatement often, he finally made it back last year.

The 31-year-old showed last year he’s still got something in the tank, and it’ll be interesting to see who takes a flyer on his upside.

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