Malcolm Smith

Jaguars Cut LB Malcolm Smith

The Jaguars are cutting veteran linebacker Malcolm Smith, per a team announcement. The Jags signed Smith at the end of October, and he lasted two games with the team. He did not register a statistic with Jacksonville, and he appeared in 29 special teams snaps.

The last couple of years have been rough for Smith, who memorably took home the Super Bowl XLVIII MVP award as a member of the Seahawks. He signed a two-year, $7.5MM pact with the Raiders in March 2015, and though he was a full-time starter for the Silver-and-Black and compiled over 100 tackles in both of his seasons in Oakland, advanced metrics were not terribly fond of his play.

Nevertheless, he was able to parlay his strong raw statistics with the Raiders into a five-year, $26.5MM deal with the 49ers in March 2017. But he missed the entire 2017 campaign due to a torn pectoral muscle, and he was cut by the 49ers before the start of the 2019 campaign despite having agreed to a pay cut earlier in the year. The 30-year-old will now look to catch on with another club in need of veteran LB depth.

In a related move, the Jags signed fellow linebacker Joe Giles-Harris to their practice squad. Jacksonville cut Giles-Harris over the weekend to make room for wideout Michael Walker, but they clearly want to keep him in the fold.

More transactions could be in the offing, as the club has an open spot on its 53-man roster and on its practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars To Sign Malcolm Smith

The Jaguars are set to sign linebacker Malcolm Smith, a league source tells ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco (on Twitter). Smith will help replenish the club’s depth after a costly victory against the Bengals on Sunday. 

Smith spent the last two seasons in San Francisco. Years before that, he reached the pinnacle of the game with the Seahawks, capturing the Lombardi Trophy and the Super Bowl XLVIII MVP award.

Things, unfortunately, haven’t been the same since that February night.The one-time Super Bowl MVP was forced to take a pay cut in the offseason after two injury plagued seasons with the Niners and, ultimately, did not make it through final cuts.

Smith’s first year with the 49ers wiped out by a torn pectoral muscle. Then, in 2018, he registered just 35 tackles and one pass defensed in 12 games (five starts). His Pro Football Focus grade of 63.4 was an improvement over his 2015 and 2016 showings with the Raiders, but that placed him as the 53rd best linebacker in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/9/19

Here are Wednesday’s updates from the workout circuit. Unless otherwise noted, all links go to the Twitter account of the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson.

Arizona Cardinals

Cleveland Browns

Kansas City Chiefs

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Workout Updates: 9/17/19

Here are Tuesday’s updates from the workout circuit, all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter unless otherwise noted.

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

  • T Gerhard deBeer, Christian DiLauro, Brandon Hitner, C James Murray (link)

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Redskins

49ers Cut Former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith

The 49ers are releasing linebacker Malcolm Smith, sources tell Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). After two seasons with the Niners, he is now free to sign with any team. 

The one-time Super Bowl MVP took a pay cut in the offseason after two injury plagued seasons with the 49ers. Smith isn’t the same player that he once was, but he could hold appeal for teams in need of experience in the front seven.

Smith joined the Niners prior to the 2017 season, but his first year was washed out by a torn pectoral muscle. Then, in 2018, he registered just 35 tackles and one pass defensed in 12 games (five starts). His Pro Football Focus grade of 63.4 was an improvement over his 2015 and 2016 showings with the Raiders, but that placed him as the 53rd best linebacker in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

The Smith cut saves the Niners just $1.34MM against $4.2MM in dead money.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers’ Malcolm Smith Restructures Contract

Linebacker Malcolm Smith has restructured his contract with the 49ers, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). Previously, Smith was set to earn $3.75MM in 2019 with a cap hit of roughly $5.4MM. Details of the new deal are not yet known. 

The Super Bowl XLVIII MVP first joined the Niners in 2017, but lost his entire first season to a torn pectoral muscle. Last year, he amassed just 35 tackles and one pass defensed in 12 games (five starts). His Pro Football Focus grade of 63.4 was an improvement over his 2015 and 2016 showings with the Raiders, but placed him as the 53rd best linebacker in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

Smith seems likely to stay put for the 2019 season, but the Niners could move on from him next offseason without much penalty. Smith’s original deal calls for a $6.1MM cap hit in 2020, but the 49ers can drop him with just $2.8MM in dead money.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Malcolm Smith Out For Season

The MRI Malcolm Smith underwent after a chest injury Saturday revealed the worst for the seventh-year linebacker. He tore a pectoral muscle and is expected to miss the season, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The team formally announced that he will be placed on IR. To take his place, former Villanova linebacker Austin Calitro was signed to a two-year deal.

The 49ers signed Smith to a five-year, $26.5MM deal but will now move on to other options at weakside linebacker. Reuben Foster, who has been working with the second-team defense at Smith’s spot, stands to be the highest-profile talent of those vying for next-in-line status in San Francisco.

Both Rapoport and Matt Maiocco from CSNBayArea.com (Twitter links) expect the Alabama linebacker, a player the new-look 49ers brass said they considered at No. 3 overall, to move into that spot alongside NaVorro Bowman and Ahmad Brooks.

Smith, who missed just one game during his two-year Oakland stint, led the Raiders in tackles in 2015 and ’16 but was given mediocre grades from Pro Football Focus. The 49ers, who hired former Smith position coach Robert Saleh as DC, nonetheless submitted a lucrative contract offer to the 28-year-old off-ball ‘backer.

Smith is set to make $3.7MM this season and carry a cap number of $4.7MM in 2018. It would cost the 49ers $8.1MM in dead money to release Smith in 2018, so the objective for the team and Smith will be a recovery that puts him on course to contribute next season.

The 49ers also have former Raider Ray-Ray Armstrong and ex-Bronco Dekoda Watson in the fold. Former Seahawks backup Brock Coyle resides behind Bowman at middle linebacker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Fear Malcolm Smith’s Season In Jeopardy

The 49ers signed Malcolm Smith to a five-year deal this offseason, and the recent Raiders starter entered training camp expected to start at weakside linebacker in San Francisco.

But the veteran off-ball ‘backer suffered a chest injury during practice Saturday the team fears is serious enough to put his season in jeopardy, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com reports. Smith went in for an MRI today, but Kyle Shanahan said the malady could keep Smith sidelined for “a while.”

Smith signed a five-year, $26.5MM deal this offseason. He and new 49ers DC Robert Saleh worked together in Seattle. Maiocco notes this injury could summon first-round pick Reuben Foster into the starting lineup sooner than expected, writing this is likely to bring the Alabama product onto the first unit at weakside ‘backer.

Smith served as the Raiders’ chief presence at off-ball linebacker over the past two seasons. He made more than 100 tackles in each of the past two seasons and missed just one game for Oakland in that span.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

John Lynch Defends Offseason Strategy

John Lynch‘s first offseason as the 49ers general manager may be remembered for the hefty contracts he handed out to a fullback and a former Super Bowl MVP.

John LynchThe organization committed more than $23MM in guaranteed money to fullback Kyle Juszczyk and linebacker Malcolm Smith, leading some pundits to wonder whether agents were looking to take advantage of the new, inexperienced executive. Of course, that sentiment may not be entirely fair, as Lynch has added a number of free agents on favorable deals, including quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, wide receivers/offensive weapons Pierre GarconAldrick Robinson and Marquise Goodwin, tight end Logan Paulsen, linebacker Dekoda Watson, special teamer Don Jones, and kicker Robbie Gould.

Like any GM, Lynch will be forced to answer more questions regarding the “egregious” signings than the shrewd additions. The executive already started addressing his offseason strategy while appearing on San Francisco’s KNBR 680 yesterday. Thanks to CSNBayArea.com, we’re able to pass along some of those quotes below…

On the signings of Juszczyk and Smith:

“We’re proud of those signings. We really are … if you’re sitting there reading everything that people are saying about you and taking it personally, you aren’t gonna be very successful … I think the reason they both got nice contracts is because they were wanted. And we weren’t the only ones that wanted them. In a lot of our situations, we weren’t the highest bidder.”

On whether the two players were enticed by money or the organization:

“Guys came because there’s an exciting vibe here; guys want to be here. None of this means anything until they go play and we go play. But those are two guys we’re very excited to have as part of the 49ers.”

On the team’s negotiations with Juszczyk:

“In that period where the negotiating period started, we were doing some traveling and we got a call and they said, ‘Here’s where it’s at now,’ and we said, ‘Wow,’ because we set in with ‘Hey, to get this guy, we’re gonna have to likely make him the highest paid fullback ever.’ And we were willing to do that…

“But then it kind of got to even another step and we had to all stop and kind of look at each other and go, ‘OK. This is getting real.’ And that’s when we kind of came up the philosophy he’s not just a fullback; he’s an offensive weapon … I’m gonna trust my instincts on what the guy brings, not necessarily what the rest of the market sees him as.

“You can’t go crazy with that, but like I said, we weren’t the only ones interested in this guy … he’s still worth it to us.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

FA Rumors: Charles, Hightower, Cutler, Bills

The latest free agency rumors from around the league:

  • Jamaal Charles will visit the Seahawks next week, a source tells Mike Florio of PFT. The Seahawks’ interest in Charles was first reported on Thursday morning. If he signs with Seattle, he’ll join Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise on the RB depth chart.
  • A Dont’a Hightower/Patriots re-up remains on the table, with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reporting (on Twitter) the parties remain in good communication about keeping Hightower in New England.
  • The Jetsinterest in Jay Cutler is being reciprocated by the veteran quarterback, Rapoport notes (on Twitter). The Bears released Cutler today after eight seasons.
  • Malcolm Smith will receive a raise from the 49ers after his two years with the Raiders. Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets it’s a five-year, $26.5MM deal for the outside ‘backer, with $13MM guaranteed. This $5.3MM-AAV pact represents quite the bump from his $3.5MM deal in Oakland, one that didn’t come with rave reviews from the advanced metrics community.
  • The Bills remain interested in retaining Lorenzo Alexander, Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News tweets. The sides are continuing to work at completing a deal for the edge defender. Although the Bills are moving to a 4-3 scheme, Alexander — who thrived as a 3-4 outside ‘backer in the form of 12.5 sacks in 2016 — looks to still be part of their plans.
  • It sounds like the Bills and Lions are in the lead for wide receiver Russell Shepard (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler). He could still wind up returning to the Buccaneers.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report.