About two years ago, the Cowboys took a risk when they traded for veteran defensive end Robert Quinn. That risk paid off. Quinn moved the Cowboys to the sacks in 2019, and his game with the Cowboys was so impressive that the Chicago Bears lured Quinn that Consein was not in a position to overcome the following offseason with a contribution. In the wake of Quinn’s departure, Dallas took even more risk by signing Alden Smith to a one-year contract in hopes of replacing him.
That risk also paid off, and now the Cowboys and Smith are at a crossroads.
Given the uncertainty about Smith’s return, it is horrifyingly telling that the team management wants the road to continue here with the Cowboys.
When asked about Smith at the season finale, Cowboys owner / general manager Jerry Jones had nothing but praise.
“It’s inspiring to see a person like Alden Smith,” Jones said. “He played some excellent football for us. He certainly wasn’t more positive, and I think he can take this year and build on it, and we want him to build it for the Cowboys. “
Drafted in the 49ers in 2011, Smith was immediately one of the most prominent and feared defensive players in the NFL, seemingly on track for the career that fellow draft class member JJ Watt would put together. but Alcoholism and the breakdown of self-identity and self-worth forced him out of the league and rendered him homeless. When the Cowboys signed Smith in April of 2020, it was a shock to the football world. He was 30 years old and had not played in the NFL in four seasons.
When the signing blow came to a close, it was clear that the extra count was a decision that was expected the most: The Cowboys needed a defensive end to play opposite Demarks Lodge with the unknown position of Randy Gregory , And they did not have the cap flexibility to sign a key player in the position. anything Smith could help them.
Surprisingly, Smith opened the Cowboys’ opening game against the Rambas and recorded a sack, his first in five years. In Week 3 against the Seahawks, he would record three sacks. Any notion that the Cowboys would have a glimpse of the old Smith would have seemed unthinkable at first, but In September, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan reported, It was a new Alden Smith: probably not as sharp as it was when he was 22, but much bigger and much stronger.
Smith finished with five sacks on the season, trailing Lawrence’s team-led 6.5. And when Lawrence finished the season with 37 QB pressures, Smith was right behind him with 35. He played all 16 games, and when Gregoroy was reinstated to Smith, was also shifted to playing snaps in defensive combat, made possible by size and strength. That they added before joining the Cowboys. Ultimately, the Cowboys once again found Lawrence’s counterpart on the defensive line.
In recent interviews, Smith expressed a desire to build something on the basis that the Cowboys were protected in the final quarter of the season, pointing to an openness to re-sign with the Cowboys and continue his second career in Dallas Happened. Throughout the season, Smith expressed gratitude to the Cowboys when no other team was calling him, so there was hardly any loyalty and respect to the organization. That said, it was an almost unfathomable task to come away four years from the NFL and potentially obtain a multi-year contract, and has earned the right to seek his value.
Smith also said back in November that his goal was to “prove that I’m the best defensive player in the league, if not the best” The player In this league. “Whatever you may think of that goal, Smith certainly believes in its attainability, and the best defensive player in the league is unlikely to come to a bargain.
Jones will have a decision to make about what he considers Smith’s future value, but it certainly looks like there is promise.
The final say in Smith’s potential Cowboys future will come from new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as well as a soon-to-be defensive line coach. But as things stand, both the Cowboys and Smith are open to working on an agreement.
Ultimately, time and numbers will determine whether Smith’s tenure in Dallas will become an inspiring one-year story or a long-term winning relationship.