Cowboys Land Deal with Troubled Pass-Rusher

Washington Redskins v San Francisco 49ers

Aldon Smith has had a laundry list of off-field issues since joining the NFL in 2011. Smith was the seventh overall pick in that year's NFL Draft and his production on the field was stellar. His first two years, despite only starting in 16 of 32 games, he was able to rack up 33.5 sacks.

It was what Smith was doing off the field that derailed his career.

Here is a list of Smith's legal issues, from Jack Baer at Yahoo:

  • arrested in Jan. 2012 for driving under the influence
  • stabbed in a house party in June 2012, was later charged for illegal possession of an assault weapon from the incident
  • arrested in Sept. 2013 for DUI and marijuana possession after a single-vehicle accident, later left the Niners during the season to enter rehab
  • arrested in April 2014 for a fake bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport, later suspended nine games by the NFL
  • arrested in Aug. 2015 for DUI and hit-and-run, was released by Niners a day later, then given year-long NFL suspension
  • arrested in March 2017 as the passenger in a DUI after a collision with a police car
  • sentenced to rehab in Sept. 2017 for the 2015 DUI
  • arrested in March 2018 on charges of misdemeanor charges of domestic violence, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, false imprisonment and vandalism after his fiancee called 911 and said he threw her around the room, bit her wrists and drank two bottles of tequila before fleeing from police(he later blew a .40 BAC)
  • released by the Raiders two days after domestic violence arrest
  • arrested in March 2018 for violating a court order to stay away from his accuser
  • arrested in April 2018 for violating his bail
  • pleaded guilty to charges of false imprisonment and violating a court order in domestic violence case in Nov. 2018
  • arrested in June 2019 for DUI

After all these transgressions, how did the Cowboys come to link up with Aldon Smith?

Per Patrik Walker of CBS Sports:

So, how did we get to the point where a player who's been absent for four seasons due to an NFL ban suddenly get to suit up for Jerry Jones? Well, it's because while Jones gave the final green light, it wasn't him pounding the table for the signing. That fist belonged to newly-hired defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, with the blessing of head coach Mike McCarthy, I'm told.

Tomsula was the defensive line coach for the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, when the team selected Smith with the seventh-overall pick, and the two immediately hit it off -- leading to Smith landing PFWA Defensive Rookie of the Year honors after delivering 14 sacks, 27 quarterback hits, four pass break ups, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 16 games played with zero starts. His first two seasons under Tomsula's tutelage saw him rack up 19.5 more sacks in his second year, along with a career-best 66 combined tackles, three forced fumbles, and an interception en route to being named a First-Team All Pro and Pro Bowler.

This is a one-year deal worth up to $4 million.

Smith is now reportedly 10 months sober and getting another shot in the NFL. For the Cowboys, this is a low-risk, high-reward situation that will see a lot of backlash for signing someone of his character, especially before getting a deal done with Dak Prescott.

The Cowboys do have a history of signing troubled players including Charles Haley, Tank Johnson, Pacman Jones, Greg Hardy, and drafting Randy Gregory in the second round.


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