The New York Giants signed linebacker Jaylon Smith, who appeared in four games including two starts with the team last season. Smith’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, tweeted about the transaction earlier Monday.
The 27-year-old Smith was a 2017 second-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys. He has 58 career starts (56 as a Cowboy) and was given a five-year, $63.7 million deal in 2019. Smith made the Pro Bowl that year and had a career-high 154 tackles in 2020, but the Cowboys released him last October. He signed with the Green Bay Packers shortly after but was released after two games and joined the Giants’ practice roster in December.
In four games last season for New York, Smith tallied 19 tackles (one for loss), a sack and a quarterback hit.
New general manager Joe Schoen didn’t bring Smith, a free agent, back during the offseason. But after two games in 2022, the Notre Dame product is back.
ESPN’s Jordan Raanan reports that Smith will join the Giants’ 16-player practice squad. The team hasn’t officially announced the move and a corresponding move hasn’t been made.
Smith has a chance to join the Giants’ 53-man roster this week, and interestingly enough, could play against his former team in the Cowboys next week on “Monday Night Football.”
The Giants are 2-0 and have only given up 36 points in those games. While the team’s linebackers haven’t hurt the team, they also aren’t the team’s strength.
New York decided to release two-year started Blake Martinez before the season, which left uncertainty in the position group under new defensive coordinator Don Martindale. Tae Crowder is the team’s top off-ball linebacker and has just nine tackles in the first two games. Unproven defenders Austin Calitro and Micah McFadden are also on the linebacker depth chart.
With question marks at the linebacker position, Smith has starting experience and could be a player to keep an eye on moving forward.
Promising Injury Update
The Giants appear to have dodged a bullet with defensive lineman Leonard Williams, who suffered a knee injury during Sunday’s victory against the Carolina Panthers.
Head coach Brian Daboll said Monday that Williams’ knee is “better than it could be.” The first-year head coach estimated that Williams’ injury is “day to day.”
“He said (Monday) he feels a lot better than he did yesterday,” Daboll said. “He’s walking around. Hopefully, he’s a fast healer.”
However, Daboll has a history of saying each player’s injury is “day to day” if the injury isn’t serious. The Athletic’s Dan Duggan thinks Williams “will miss some time”
There’s a chance that Williams could miss a couple of days or a few weeks. Daboll didn’t specify if Williams is able to play in Week 3 vs the division rival Dallas Cowboys next Monday night.
If Williams misses time, Martindale would use any of the remaining defensive linemen in Justin Ellis, Nick Williams and rookie D.J. Davidson.
New York already had played their first two games without edge defenders Azeez Ojulari and Kaybon Thibodeaux. They were also without Aaron Robinson Sunday after the starting cornerback had his appendix removed on Wednesday.