Cowboys to Sign Former Super Bowl MVP as Linebacker Depth?

Malcolm Smith

Getty Malcolm Smith

Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones acknowledged in a radio interview Monday that the team “probably” needs to add an outside player to its injury-decimated linebacker corps.

They got to work Tuesday, hosting Malcolm Smith and Ray-Ray Armstrong on free-agent visits, according to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News.

Per NFL Network’s Jane Slater, the Cowboys are interested in signing Smith to serve as insurance with Leighton Vander Esch (neck) sidelined indefinitely, Luke Gifford (broken arm) done for the year, and Joe Thomas and Sean Lee battling maladies.

Smith is best known for his time with the Seattle Seahawks, where he amassed 132 combined tackles, 10 tackles for loss, seven passes defensed, four forced fumbles, two interceptions and a defensive touchdown across 57 games (16 starts). He was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLVIII after making 10 tackles and scoring on a pick-six in Seattle’s 43-8 thrashing of Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos.

A 2011 seventh-round draft pick, Smith (6-0, 225) has been something of a nomad since defecting to the Oakland Raiders in 2015. He played two seasons for Oakland before inking a $26.50 million contract with the San Fransisco 49ers. Smith was released this past August. He then had a cup of coffee with the Jacksonville Jaguars and was cut on Nov. 5.

For his career, Smith’s recorded 393 total tackles, nine forced fumbles, six sacks, four INTs, three fumble recoveries, and two defensive scores.

The Cowboys boast $20.1 million in available cap space, more than enough to ink the 30-year-old to a short-term contract likely for the veteran’s minimum.

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Where Smith Would Fit in Dallas

LVE’s neck stinger and Lee’s pectoral and thigh issues meant increased snaps for Thomas and a Gifford, a rookie whom the Cowboys were high on before he fractured his arm in last Sunday’s win over the Rams. Lee and Thomas are the projected starters at LB alongside Jaylon Smith for Week 16, provided they suffer no setbacks in practice.

If signed, Smith would function as a primary backup and pinch starter. He’d rotate with Justin March-Lillard and Chris Covington against the Philadelphia Eagles in a winner-take-all matchup, assuming Smith is active.

Dallas could use as many hands on deck as possible to take on the Eagles’ 11th-ranked rushing attack, which averages 121.4 yards per game. Smith fits the bill as he’s more run-stuffer than pass-rusher, especially at this stage of his winding-down career.


Bucs Poach Receiver Off Cowboys’ Practice Squad: Report

Cyril Grayson, we hardly knew ye. According to reports, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday plucked Grayson from Dallas’ practice squad and promoted him to their 53-man active roster.

A renowned track star at LSU, where he was a seven-time All-American and four-time NCAA champion, Grayson signed with the Cowboys on Dec. 10 following the season-ending ACL injury to reserve WR Cedrick Wilson.

Grayson spent the 2019 offseason with the New Orleans Saints. He appeared in all four of their preseason games, catching eight passes for 147 yards (18.4 yards per reception) with a long grab of 49 yards.

Because the Cowboys bumped Covington from the taxi squad last week, and promoted offensive lineman Mitch Hyatt prior to that, they currently have two open spots on the 10-player team.


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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL