After it looked like his NFL career may be short-lived following his time with the Kansas City Chiefs, Tremon Smith earned the first contract extension of his career.
Smith signed a one-year, $1.6 million deal with Houston, according to Aaron Wilson of Sports Talk 790.
$300,000 of Smith’s $1.1 base salary is guaranteed, and he also received a $150,000 signing bonus and a $50,000 workout bonus, per Wilson.
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Smith’s Career So Far
Smith was a sixth-round pick of the Chiefs in the 2018 NFL Draft. Coming out of college as a defensive back from Central Arkansas, Smith was primarily a kick returner during his tenure with the Chiefs. He returned 33 total kickoffs for 886 yards — 26.8 yards per return — with a long of 97 yards during the 2018 season and one game in the 2019 season.
Smith was waived in early September of 2019 and was claimed by the Green Bay Packers. He spent most of his time in Green Bay on the team’s practice squad before he was cut on December 3 and signed to the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad on December 5. The Eagles waived him on July 26, 2020, and Smith then signed a one-year, $750,000 deal with the Indianapolis Colts on August 16. In 10 games with the Colts, Smith returned eight kickoffs for 180 yards — 22.5 yards per return — with a long of 33 yards, per Pro Football Reference.
On March 22 of 2021, Smith signed a one-year $1.13 million contract with the Texans. In 11 games played this season, Smith returned six kickoffs for 156 yards — 26.0 yards per return — with a long of 44 yards. He also started one game for Houston on defense, recording two tackles in the 24-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 3. He also recovered a fumble in the team’s 22-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Week 11.
Texans on Smith’s Efforts
Following the Texans’ 21-14 loss to the New York Jets in Week 12, special teams coach Frank Ross spoke of Smith’s abilities as a returner.
“He looked really good in that one opportunity we had there last week,” Ross said on December 2. “You guys all know this, that it’s an 11-man show. One breakdown might stop you in your tracks. Two breakdowns, you might not have any shot at all. When you do get that one crease, when you do get that one shot, he’s got the speed and a little bit of wiggle to him. We want to attack aggressively downhill. I think he’s done a good job with that. Going to continue to press him to do just that.”
Smith is one of three players from Kansas City’s 2018 draft class that are no longer on the team. The other two are second-round pick Breeland Speaks and fellow sixth-rounder Kahlil McKenzie.
The players from that draft class that are still on the Chiefs’ roster are defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, who was selected in the third round, linebacker Dorian O’Daniel, another third-round pick, and safety Armani Watts, who was a fourth-round pick.
Nnadi has been a strong contributor on defense for the defending AFC champions, playing 41% of the team’s total defensive snaps this season, and recording 19 tackles, three quarterback hits, and one tackle for loss, per Pro Football Reference. O’Daniel and Watts have primarily been special teams contributors during their four years in the NFL.