Jaylon Smith

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/26/23

Here are the NFL’s Boxing Day practice squad updates:

Atlanta Falcons

Denver Broncos

  • Released: DB Keidron Smith

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

  • Signed: TE La’Michael Pettway

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Smith will make his way to a third team this season. The Saints signed the former Cowboys mainstay just before the season, but the Raiders later poached the eighth-year veteran off New Orleans’ practice squad. The Steelers, who have lost regulars Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander for the season, will turn to him now. This move come after the Steelers added Mykal Walker, who is on team No. 4 this year, to their linebacking corps.

Henderson resurfaced with the Rams midway through this season, coming back after the team lost Kyren Williams and Ronnie Rivers in one game. Williams made his way back to action last month, while Rivers moved back to the 53-man roster last week. With Royce Freeman in place as veteran insurance, the Rams will again cut Henderson.

The Broncos are planning to bring Smith back to their P-squad soon, per the Denver Gazette’s Chris Tomasson. The team initially planned to cut Smith to clear a spot for Kareem Jackson. With the Texans making another high-profile waiver claim — this one to reunite with Jackson, who was primarily a Houston cornerback from 2010-18 — the Broncos no longer have to clear a P-squad spot.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/22/23

Today’s minor transactions and gameday callups heading into Week 12 of the NFL season:

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

Smith’s tenure on the Raiders lasted about three weeks after he was signed off of the Saints’ practice squad. The Raiders immediately plugged him in hoping that he would improve a unit struggling to defend the run. After his initial game in Vegas, though, Smith was inactive for the next two games. Whether due to injuries or ineffectiveness, Smith no longer warranted a roster spot with the Raiders.

The Jets signed Kelly in the midst of a litany of offensive line injuries. Kelly is an established veteran with a good amount of starting experience, but even with all the opportunities provided due to injury, Kelly couldn’t quite crack the rotation and now finds himself without a roster spot.

Raiders Sign LB Jaylon Smith Off Saints’ Practice Squad

The Raiders have made their first roster move under interim general manager Champ Kelly. Veteran linebacker Jaylon Smith has joined Vegas by signing off the Saints’ practice squad, his agency announced.

Smith worked out with the Raiders this summer, but he joined New Orleans in time for the preseason. The 28-year-old impressed during his exhibition performances, though it quickly became clear a special teams role would represent his best path to playing time. Smith was part of the Saints’ final roster cuts; to no surprise, however, he was immediately signed to the team’s taxi squad.

In spite of that, he has yet to see any game action in 2023. Today’s decision to head to Vegas will give Smith a better chance to be active on gamedays, and it will be interesting to see what kind of a role he can carve out under interim head coach Antonio Pierce. The latter will have a number of lineup decisions to make – aside from the move to bench quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to clear a path for rookie Aidan O’Connell to take over – with respect to a defense which has struggled in a number of categories, particularly against the run.

Vegas – led at the LB spot by Robert Spillane and Divine Deablo – has surrendered an average of 141 yards per game on the ground this season, and Smith will look to aid in that department. It remains to be seen how effective his efforts on that front will be, however. The former second-rounder has yet to make much of a statistical impact (or find a permanent home) since his Cowboys tenure came to an end. Smith has bounced around to the Giants, Packers and Saints since he was released by Dallas midseason in 2021.

The two-time Pro Bowler recorded at least 121 tackles every year between 2018 and ’20, adding eight sacks during that span. Smith saw a notable drop in playing time the following season, though he served in a starting capacity with the Giants in 2022. While logging a 72% snap share, he posted 88 tackles but drew the second-worst PFF grade (56) of his career. Improving on that mark with the Raiders, presuming he sees the field in some capacity, will no doubt help his free agent stock come March.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/19/23

Today’s minor transactions:

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

The Chiefs moved on from Montrell Washington to make room for old friend Mecole Hardman. The former fifth-round pick was serving as Kansas City’s primary punt returner in 2023, returning eight punts for 61 yards. While he’s been limited to special teams duties in 2023, Washington got into 78 offensive snaps with the Broncos in 2022.

Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC South

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BuccaneersFalconsPanthers and Saints moves are noted below.

Atlanta Falcons




  • OL Josh Miles

Signed to practice squad: 

Carolina Panthers



Signed to practice squad:

New Orleans Saints



Signed to practice squad:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers



Signed to practice squad:

LB Jaylon Smith Joins Saints’ Practice Squad

AUGUST 30: The veteran linebacker, indeed, will not be leaving New Orleans. His plus preseason cameo will lead to a spot on the Saints’ practice squad, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets.

AUGUST 29: While Jaylon Smith had impressed since signing with the Saints earlier this month, he will not be part of the team’s 53-man roster today. New Orleans will release the veteran linebacker, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football tweets.

Smith retains practice squad eligibility, with teams having up to six spots to give to vested veterans on those 16-man units. Teams will begin assembling their P-squads soon. It will be interesting to see if Smith winds up back with the Saints ahead of Week 1, but for now, the former Cowboys starter is a free agent again.

Teams also commonly release vested veterans for guarantee purposes, as these players’ salaries become guaranteed days before Week 1, or to protect a younger player from being exposed to waivers. With Alvin Kamara set to be moved off the roster — due to the three-game suspension he recently received — at least one spot will soon be open.

Spending last season with the Giants, Smith worked out for the Raiders earlier this summer. But he landed with the Saints on August 10. A special teams role for Smith appeared on the Saints’ radar, and that may still be the case. Demario Davis and Pete Werner lead New Orleans’ linebacking corps, with 2020 third-rounder Zack Baun still in the mix as well.

Since the Cowboys cut bait on Smith’s six-year extension in 2021, he has bounced around. He spent the ’21 season with three teams — the Cowboys, Packers and Giants — but found some footing in New York. The Giants circled back to Smith, via a September 2022 signing, and used him as an 11-game starter. The Giants did not feature especially good inside linebacker play last season, and they have since added Bobby Okereke and Isaiah Simmons.

The Saints have been busy with veterans today. They informed Bradley Roby of a release and traded longtime kicker Wil Lutz to the Broncos, reuniting him with Sean Payton.

Saints Officially Set 53-Man Roster

The Saints welcomed back some old faces and said goodbye to others on their way towards setting their initial 53-man roster. Here are the moves the team made in their efforts to select the team they will open the season with:



The veteran tight end James will have to continue his recent tour of the NFL. He, Holtz, and Krull fell victim to the reunion of New Orleans and former All-Pro Jimmy Graham.

On defense, Smith failed to make the roster after starting 11 games for the Giants last year. Roby is another player who was initially expected to contribute, but will have to pack up his locker.

With the emergence of rookie third-round pick Kendre Miller and the eventual return of Alvin Kamara, keeping Williams in the running backs room just wasn’t worth the roster spot.

On special teams, the third-year punter Gillikin lost the punting battle with undrafted rookie signee out of Miami (FL) Lou Hedley. The viral, jacked, tatted-up, Australian, 30-year-old rookie punter makes his first NFL roster as part of the Saints’ new-look special teams group.

NFL Roster Rumors: Cowboys, Green, Bears, Mann, Smith

The Cowboys‘ offensive line remains a strength heading into the 2023 season. The depth of the offensive line is a different story, though. Behind the starting five, there is a drastic drop in talent, leading Jon Machota of The Athletic to believe that Dallas may pursue adding some offensive line talent from outside the organization before the start of the season.

Currently, the Cowboys’ offensive line depth projected to make the initial 53-man roster is comprised of tackles Matt Waletzko and Asim Richards and linemen Josh Ball, Matt Farniok, and Chuma Edoga. Dallas’ offensive line is likely strong enough along the starting five to weather the temporary need to play a backup, but if the team has to rely on any of the bottom five long-term, it would be a tremendous drop off in production wherever the backup is plugged in.

The situation in Dallas may not be drastic enough to require a trade acquisition, but the Cowboys will likely be perusing the open market once the roster cut deadline rolls around.

Here are a few more roster rumors as the close of the preseason continues:

  • The Steelers embarked on an experiment akin to that of their division rivals in Maryland as they attempted to work center Kendrick Green into a fullback/tight end role a la Patrick Ricard of the Ravens. According to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, the move was a result of Green getting buried on the depth chart of the offensive line. As Green slipped down to third-string center or fourth-team guard, Pittsburgh allowed him to fully pursue the Ricard-role he had simulated in game prep for Ravens matchups. Unfortunately, the magic wasn’t there for Green. A later Kaboly report informed that Green had been moved back to center and that, as low as he is on the depth chart, he’ll likely have trouble retaining a roster spot come next Tuesday.
  • Although starting offensive guard Teven Jenkins continues to struggle with staying healthy, it doesn’t appear that the Bears will pursue offensive line help for the upcoming season, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. While it wouldn’t be an ideal outcome, Chicago feels confident in the backups it has available. Former first-round pick Alex Leatherwood has a year of the system under his belt now and should provide some quality depth immediately behind Jenkins. The Bear will likely retain other quality backups like Larry Borom and Lucas Patrick who could fill in if Leatherwood struggles in injury replacement duties. Whatever the options, Chicago feels confident with its cache of linemen.
  • The Eagles are set to head into the 2023 season with Arryn Siposs retaining punting duties for the third consecutive season. After he suffered a serious ankle injury late last year, though, Philadelphia didn’t shy away from attempting to bring in some competition for Siposs. The team had submitted a waiver claim for former Jets punter Braden Mann before he was awarded to the Steelers. If the Eagles are still interested in adding depth at punter before the start of the season, Mann is unlikely to beat out Pressley Harvin III in Pittsburgh, so he may be available after roster cuts, according to Adam Caplan of Pro Football Network.
  • Newly acquired linebacker Jaylon Smith has found a renewed drive in New Orleans. The veteran has already worked his way up the Saints‘ depth chart to a battle for the third linebacker spot. While that sounds positive, the Saints defense rarely utilizes three linebackers on the field at the same time with the team placing more value on additional pass rushers or defensive backs. According to John Sigler of USA Today, head coach Dennis Allen has delineated that a special teams role is the key for Smith to find a path towards a roster spot. While Smith has provided a boost to the team’s linebacker depth, his new head coach wants to see him covering punt and kickoff returns in order to cement his place on the 53-man roster.

Saints Sign LB Jaylon Smith

4:00pm: The Saints signed Smith following his workout today, according to Schultz (on Twitter).

3:10pm: A week after working out for the Raiders, Jaylon Smith is auditioning for the Saints. The free agent linebacker worked out for New Orleans today, according to Jordan Schultz (via Twitter).

[RELATED: Raiders Work Out LB Jaylon Smith]

It’s been a quiet offseason for Smith, with his Raiders visit marking his first reported workout. Despite getting into 23 games over the past two years, Smith had to settle for practice squad gigs during the 2021 regular season and 2022 offseason. If he does find a landing spot this month, he’ll probably be inking another non-guaranteed pact.

The former second-round pick was a Pro Bowler during his time with the Cowboys, with the linebacker averaging 139 tackles per season between 2018 and 2020. He underwent wrist surgery during the 2021 offseason, and after refusing to waive his 2022 injury guaranteed (while also getting lapped by Micah Parsons and Keanu Neal on the depth chart), Smith was cut by Dallas.

After catching on with the Giants at the end of the 2021 campaign, he re-joined their practice squad last September. He ended up seeing time in 13 games (11 starts) during the 2022 season, collecting 88 tackles and one sack. Pro Football Focus only ranked him 60th among 81 qualifying linebackers, although they did grade him as one of the best pass-rushing options at his position.

Earlier this week, Saints head coach Dennis Allen hinted that the team could be looking for some depth at off-ball linebacker. Demario Davis had been sidelined with a calf injury, leaving 2022 fifth-round pick D’Marco Jackson as the primary option at the position.

Raiders Work Out LB Jaylon Smith

The Raiders have gone through some turnover at linebacker over the past two offseasons. Most recently, two-year starter Denzel Perryman relocated — to Houston — despite Las Vegas being interested in another deal.

Jayon Brown also played out his one-year contract last season, leaving Divine Deablo as the team’s lone returning second-level regular. The team did sign Robert Spillane in March and use a sixth-round pick on Amari Burney. But the prospect of another veteran addition has been on the Las Vegas radar for a bit now.

The team is looking into that prospect Wednesday, with The Score’s Jordan Schultz noting Jaylon Smith is in Vegas today for a workout (Twitter link). The former Cowboys starter spent last season with the Giants, starting 11 games to run his career start count to 69. Smith made 88 tackles and recovered a fumble last season, which was an unstable year for the Giants at linebacker. Pro Football Focus graded Smith as the No. 60 overall off-ball ‘backer in 2022.

Smith lost his starting spot in Dallas early during the 2021 season and ended up being released. His profile has taken a hit over the past two years, coming after the Cowboys gave the Notre Dame alum a big-ticket extension in 2019. Dallas signed Smith to a six-year, $68.4MM re-up during the ’19 offseason. Fond of long-running contracts, the Cowboys cut bait two seasons into that deal. Smith finished the 2020 season with a career-high 154 tackles, completing his second straight season with 140-plus stops.

Raiders DC Patrick Graham coached Smith, 28, briefly during his Giants tenure. The Giants took a flier on the former second-round pick during the 2021 season, after both the Cowboys and Packers cut him. Smith ended up re-signing with the Giants in September 2022, rising from the practice squad into a starting role. The Giants had cut Blake Martinez, who soon signed with the Raiders before retiring in-season (to go full throttle with an evidently lucrative side hustle), and seen Darrian Beavers suffer an ACL tear in the preseason. Beavers is now healthy, and the Giants have Bobby Okereke anchoring their ILB corps.