Free agent linebacker Jaylon Smith reportedly will work out for the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.
Sources: Free agent LB Jaylon Smith is working out for the #Saints today.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) August 10, 2023
A second-round pick (No. 34 overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft, has bounced around the NFL since the 2021 season.
Smith – who looked to be a sure-fire first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft out of the University of Notre Dame – suffered a torn ACL and MCL in the team’s Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State University in his final collegiate season.
That hurt his draft stock a bit, as he was No. 2 on ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s big board at the time. Smith has never really lived up to those expectations in the NFL, although he did make a Pro Bowl in the 2019 season. Following that season, he signed a five-year, $64 million contract extension with Dallas.
During the 2021 season, Dallas released Smith after he appeared in just four games for the team.
“Really this wasn’t an easy decision,” Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said at the time. “He’s a good football player. He’s played excellent football here for a long time, but we have a [defensive] system, I think it’s clear now after four games how we’re playing.”
Last season, Smith appeared in 13 games for the Giants and made 11 starts. He recorded 88 combined tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery.
There’s no doubt that Smith has a ton of talent, and he’s still just 28 years old. Now, he just needs a franchise to give him a chance to prove that he can still be a productive player in today’s NFL.
The Saints and Raiders both missed the playoffs in the 2022 season, so both teams appear to be looking for some help to turn their fortunes around in the 2023 campaign.
Smith is a veteran with a proven track record that could come in and provide depth at the linebacker position.
For his career, Smith has recorded 624 combined tackles, 11 sacks, two interceptions and six forced fumbles. There’s a chance he gets a shot to reignite his NFL career after making a positive impact in New York last season.