UPDATE: It sounds like Jaylon Smith will be heading to the Green Bay Packers after all.
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW.
The Dallas Cowboys surprised many by releasing former Pro Bowl linebacker Jaylon Smith on Tuesday evening. Naturally, fans from many other teams — the Philadelphia Eagles included — immediately expressed their desire for their team to pick him up.
If you’re holding your breath for the Eagles to land Smith, though, maybe you should stop doing that. NFL insider Mike Garafolo downplayed the possibility on Wednesday afternoon.
If you want to hold out hope, though, there’s this from Clarence Hill of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram:
Hearing the Giants and Eagles might be among the teams showing interest in Jaylon Smith— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) October 6, 2021
Though it might seem like these are conflicting reports, that’s not necessarily the case. The Eagles might have interest in Smith but the feeling might not be mutual.
And that’s quite OK.
Look, I get why people think the Eagles adding Smith would make sense. Philly’s linebackers are pretty bad and Smith is a former Pro Bowler who likely would’ve been a first-round pick if he hadn’t suffered an injury leading up to the NFL Draft.
But the perception of Smith and the reality are two different things. He’s not as good as you think he is.
Don’t just take it from me. Here’s what Blogging The Boys wrote about him earlier today:
While the writing has been on the wall for a future release of Smith, not many expected that release to happen in season due to the inability to save any money. But the more digging that was done, the more it came out that the team was concerned with an injury guarantee put in Smith’s contract for the 2022 season. Rather than risk another in-season or offseason injury locking the team into the 2022 deal, they decided to cut their losses and get out of a poor deal, before it got even worse.
With this move, you can look at it as an addition by subtraction. While Smith was overly criticized at times, sometimes a bit too harshly, he was no longer a quality player in the NFL. His inability to change directions, to move with any sort of burst, and his continued struggles to get off blocks often left him as a liability on defense, even in his limited role. Due to all of those things, Smith was pushed way down the depth chart with the emergence of Micah Parsons, Keanu Neal, and the talent of Leighton Vander Esch. Smith’s inability to play special teams also contributed to the Cowboys releasing the sixth-year linebacker.
Going back even further, RJ Ochoa and I discussed Smith being the Cowboys’ most overrated defensive player in a July episode of the NFC East Mixtape, which airs weekly on both the Bleeding Green Nation and BTB podcast feeds.
RJ: “So, this is hard, actually, for me to say that he’s overrated because I don’t think that there’s anyone who would think that he would be really good. But he has developed into the face, or at least publicly, of the Cowboys’ defense. And that has really only happened because the Cowboys have pushed for that. And he’s a great story, I’ve said this before. I know I’ve bagged on him as a player. It is Jaylon Smith. And a lot of the reason he’s overrated is because he’s the one telling people ‘I’m good.’ And he lacks so much awareness, both on and off the field. Two years ago, when the Cowboys were so bad, he was tweeting for people to vote for him for the Pro Bowl. He changed to No. 9 […] he had this big statement about how much the number meant to him. But, like, dude, this is a bad thing to do in your current moment. The responsible thing to do for your own career would be to say ‘I need to take a step back here.’ And he just can’t. He just can’t get out of his own way in that sense. I think that a lot of people who aren’t Cowboys fans view him as this, like, you know … I talked the other day about players who are in the Sunday Night Football intro with Carrie Underwood. Those are your most visible players. He will be in that because that’s how the Cowboys elevate him for whatever silly reason. He has developed a situation for himself where he is overrated.
BLG: I think Jaylon Smith is the right answer. I just kind of wonder, from my perspective, I don’t see people thinking he’s good anymore. At least, maybe I’m biased from own perception of him. Because I think he’s just bad now. And I don’t think he can be overrated because he’s actually bad.
In other words, Smith has Big Loser Energy (BLE) in spades.
If the Eagles can add Smith on a minimum-ish deal? That would be fine. But they don’t need to be making some kind of big investment in this player. He’s not the magical answer to all of Philly’s defensive problems.
Whether you think the Eagles should sign him or not, it sounds like it’s not the most realistic outcome. In addition to Garafolo throwing cold water on the possibility, just think about where the Eagles stand right now. Not every player is going to be jumping to join a 1-3 team that’s coming off two decisive losses. Especially when there are preferable alternatives, such as going to play with Aaron Rodgers.
Keep an eye on the #Packers for former #Cowboys Pro Bowl LB Jaylon Smith, sources say. They are making a push. Coach Matt LaFleur was at Notre Dame with Smith and is a fan. Multiple teams are still in the mix, as well, and it’s not over yet.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 6, 2021
PS: When’s the last time signing a former Cowboys player worked out for the Eagles, again?
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