According to NFL media head honcho Ian Rapoport, former Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith is set to ink a deal with the Green Bay Packers tomorrow morning.
Smith spent his first four years in the NFL with the Cowboys, as “America’s Team” took him in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Although he missed his entire first season due to a knee injury suffered at Notre Dame, he burst onto the scene in 2017 and had an impactful rookie year – putting up 81 combined tackles, two forced fumbles and two pass defenses in six total starts.
Although Smith did play all 16 games, he only participated in 54% of the defensive snaps. Smith would register a 69.4 PFF rating as well.
Smith would go on to start in all 16 games for the next three years, where he registered over 400 tackles, four forced fumbles, and 18 passes defended. Although on the surface Smith looked like an elite-level player, he often struggled in pass coverage and stopping the run.
But so did the entire Cowboys defense. With the way the team is playing under new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, it has clearly shown that the defensive problems for the Cowboys were clearly scheme based.
So, how does Jaylon Smith fit into this 2021 Packers team? I don’t think anybody can provide a clear and concise answer until he’s in a green and yellow uniform, but I’m extremely optimistic.
A huge upside to Smith is that he’s only 26 years old. Many NFL players don’t reach their prime or their full potential until they’re 27 or 28, so there’s a solid chance that if he sticks around – the Packers could witness Jaylon Smith in his prime.
The Packers have had a huge issue with tackling over the years and while it’s gotten significantly better this year, you can never have enough good tacklers. Jaylon Smith, if nothing else, is a good tackler.
De’Vondre Campbell is somebody that they brought in during the offseason, and it was met with the same groans that Packers fans are giving now. Campbell has proven himself to have a second life in the NFL and has made a real impact on the Packers defense through only four weeks.
Rapoport also noted in his series of tweets that money wasn’t an issue between the two, given that the Cowboys are set to still pay a good chunk of his 2021 salary. This turns the move into a low-risk, high-reward situation for the Packers – which is the best-case scenario in their current state.
In conclusion, you’ll see this image floating around the internet – but one play shouldn’t define Smith’s expectations. Even if this situation doesn’t pan out for the Packers, it was a low-money gamble that won’t mean much in the grand scheme of things.
But if Smith plays like he did in 2018… this could be something very special.
Also, the Packers now have three linebackers with the name Smith. Was it intentional, probably not – but it sure is funny.