Why it would be huge for Seahawks’ defense if they sign DE Aldon Smith
Update 9:02 a.m. Thursday: The Seahawks have reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with Aldon Smith. You can read about the news at this link.
It seemed like the Seahawks were set at pass rush for the 2021 season, but according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Seattle is looking to sign a former All-Pro.
Per Rapoport, the Seahawks on Tuesday brought in defensive end Aldon Smith for a visit. Smith, a 2012 All-Pro for the San Francisco 49ers, recorded five sacks, 14 quarterback hits and 50 pressures for the Dallas Cowboys in 2020.
#Cowboys free agent pass-rusher Aldon Smith is visiting the #Seahawks today, per me and @MikeGarafolo. A possible low-risk, high-reward addition for Seattle if all checks out. He had 50 QB pressures and 5 sacks last year.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 14, 2021
Smith, 31, has 52.5 career sacks since entering the NFL in 2011, but he was out of the league from 2016 to 2019 due to a number of legal troubles before playing all 16 games for Dallas last season.
According to ESPN’s Brady Henderson, who joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake and Stacy on Wednesday, the interest between the Seahawks and Smith is “very real.”
“I was also told that they had strong interest in him last offseason and they were one of the finalists (when) he ended up signing with Dallas,” Henderson said.
That interest carried over into the season, said Henderson, who pointed to a report by his ESPN colleague Todd Archer, who reported that Seattle tried to trade for Smith during the 2020 season.
“This is a player they’ve had their eyes on pretty heavily for the last year,” Henderson said. “I think the interest is real there. If it does happen, I wonder if it would be more after the draft.”
The reason? May 3 is the day when free-agent signings no longer count against the compensatory draft pick formula. Henderson also noted that this draft class doesn’t boast much talent when it comes to edge rushers, so if the Seahawks pass on that position with their current three draft picks, Smith is someone they could circle back to in a few weeks.
Later during Wednesday’s edition of Jake and Stacy, Stacy Rost and former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus both said they were on board with the idea of adding Smith to a pass rush that already has veterans Carlos Dunlap, Kerry Hyder Jr. and Benson Mayowa, as well as 2020 rookies Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson. Seattle ranked seventh in the NFL in 2020 with 46 sacks.
Bumpus thinks Smith could come in and contribute as a rotational piece for the Seahawks in a big way.
“You get 6.5 sacks on this team and this defense, you’re probably second or third (in sacks),” Bumpus said. “You need a 6.5-sack type of guy. Most importantly, you need a guy in a rotation … I’m starting to like the depth of this defensive line if you get Aldon Smith.”
Rost said the fact that Seattle doesn’t boast a true elite No. 1 pass rusher could help sway a guy like Smith to come on board on a one-year deal.
“If I show up and show out, I can be the star,” she said. “… That role still feels up for grabs. Obviously you have Dunlap coming back, but this could be his last year in Seattle.”
Bumpus said Smith at one point was “probably the most dominant defensive lineman in the game” and that he can add a lot to the Seahawks’ defense next season if he signs.
“This guy is special,” Bumpus said. “And when you add that type of talent to Carlos Dunlap and Kerry Hyder, that stuff is contagious.”
Bumpus also said that Smith’s presence could help younger players like Taylor and Robinson in terms of lessening the pressure they’d otherwise face.
“You have some veterans who have been there and done it who can show you the way, (and they can) learn from those guys,” he said.
Seattle’s defense overall wasn’t great in 2020, but over the second half of the season the unit gelled and played like one of the league’s best. Adding Smith to the mix certainly wouldn’t hurt, Bumpus said.
“This defense is close to being really good,” he said. “… Maybe he’s that piece that pushes them over the top.”
Listen to the full conversation with Henderson as well as Rost and Bumpus’ thoughts on Smith at this link or in the player below.