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Cowboys free agency: Dallas adding DE Aldon Smith who is returning to NFL after four-year absence

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Dallas has a new edge rusher.

Denver Broncos v Oakland Raiders Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

[UPDATE]: Because of Aldon Smih’s long history of alcohol/drug problems and run-ins with the law, he is indefinitely suspended. As of now, he’s not eligible to play.


The Dallas Cowboys have made it a point to beef up their defensive line throughout free agency. So far they’ve addressed the interior by adding former Carolina Panthers Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe, but the outside has yet to receive any attention.

That was until Wednesday night. In what is not an April Fools joke, the Dallas Cowboys made a rather large headline by bringing in someone who was once one of the most dominant edge rushers in the NFL. The caveat here is that the time this particular player dominated was about half of a decade ago.

You didn’t misread that. We are talking about somebody who was an absolute force throughout the league, but hasn’t really been since 2015. We are talking about Aldon Smith.

The Dallas Cowboys are signing defensive end Aldon Smith

It was FOX’s Jay Glazer that first broke the news of Dallas hiring Mike McCarthy as their head coach and he was at it again on Wednesday night. Glazer reported that the Cowboys are bringing in Aldon Smith.

Aldon Smith last played in the NFL back in 2015 for the Oakland Raiders. Of course the more prominent portion of his career was spent in San Francisco for the four years prior. It should be noted that Jim Tomsula was the 49ers defensive line coach and he now occupies that same position in Dallas. That is clearly an important point here.

Smith’s arrival in San Francisco coincided with Jim Harbaugh’s. They were there for the same time but it was those first three years that the 49ers were truly special. San Fran went to three straight NFC Championship Games (they won it in 2012 and eventually lost Super Bowl LVII to the Baltimore Ravens) and a big reason why was the presence that Aldon Smith brought along the edge.

Smith had 14 and 19.5 sacks in 2011 and 2012, respectively, for the 49ers, but those seasons were eight and nine years ago. It is certainly interesting to see the Cowboys think that the now 30-year-old Smith might still have something significant left.

The Cowboys are in need of help along the right side of their defensive line after losing Robert Quinn, another one-year sort of rental from last season, to the Chicago Bears in free agency. Aldon Smith’s journey back to the NFL is well-chronicled, and the Cowboys also have Randy Gregory trying to make his way back to the league.

With a combination of Smith and Gregory opposite of DeMarcus Lawrence, things could get fairly interesting for the Cowboys defensive line.

Update: 9:42pm ET

Contract details are in.