“One guy who will not be on the move: Aldon Smith,” NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Saturday. “The Seahawks were amongst the teams that checked in with the Cowboys because they were interested in acquiring the veteran, one of the few that feels comfortable in Mike Nolan’s defense. He’s playing well, he’s generating pressure, and the Cowboys said, ‘We are not trading this guy. He is signed for this year.’ So likely a lucrative extension to stay in Dallas [is] coming for Aldon Smith.”
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Returning from a half-decade-spanning NFL suspension, Smith has been a rare bright spot for 2-5 Dallas’ lowly defense. Through seven games, the former 49ers first-round pick has collected 32 tackles, eight quarterback hits, and a team-leading four sacks across 369 snaps (74.10%) primarily at outside linebacker.
Credit to Will McClay and the Cowboys’ scouting department for identifying Smith, 30, as an offseason target. And kudos to Jerry Jones and the front-office for landing the ex-Pro Bowler on clearance — a non-guaranteed one-year, $2 million deal rife with bonuses and sack incentives. He has a base salary of just $910,000, a sharp contrast to $105 million defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (two sacks, $9.9 million cap hit).
Smith’s career resurgence is shaping up similar to how Robert Quinn, a nondescript 2019 addition and fellow pass-rushing veteran, spun an out-of-nowhere 12-sack campaign into a five-year, $70 million contract ($30 million guaranteed) with the Chicago Bears this past offseason.
Quinn was not deemed a priority, bolting North Texas sans much resistance. Smith, however, appears to be playing himself into a long-term commitment.
The Cowboys executed a pair of trades over the last week, sending Pro Bowl DE Everson Griffen to the Detroit Lions and acquiring nose tackle Eli Ankou from the Houston Texans. (They also released NT Dontari Poe and defensive back.)
If there’s another pact before Tuesday’s deadline, it won’t involve one of the league’s best comeback stories.