When the Dallas Cowboys signed defensive end Aldon Smith to a contract last offseason, it was a shock to everyone. Smith had been out of football for four years and had been suspended multiple times for problems off the field. So his return caught everyone by surprise.
Smith had conquered his addiction demons and actually came on strong to start the year, racking up four sacks in three games, including a dominating three-sack performance against the Seahawks. At that point of the season, it seemed like the Cowboys had gotten one of the steals of free agency. But Smith slowed down considerably the rest of the year. He only picked up one more sack, and besides some splash plays that included a fumble return for a touchdown, he wasn’t a major force. He was eventually supplanted in production in the rotation by Randy Gregory.
Since the Cowboys only signed him to a one-year deal in 2020, Smith was up for free agency again this offseason. It had been a good debate about whether the Cowboys would re-sign him or not, but we now have an answer.
Cowboys informed DE Aldon Smith on Tuesday they'll be moving in a different direction, source said. Smith became an unrestricted free agent on March 17. He hopes to play somewhere in 2021. Won't be in Dallas. @WerderEdESPN first reported.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) March 24, 2021
The Cowboys recently signed Tarell Basham to help with their pass rush, and he will join DeMarcus Lawrence, Gregory, and Dorance Armstrong, among others, as candidates for the rotation of defensive ends.
Smith’s return to football and his ability to overcome his off-the-field demons was a bit of a feel good story last year. Even though it won’t be in Dallas, let’s all hope his recovery stays on the path.