Dallas Cowboys: Aldon Smith A Future Possibility?


Admit it: In the hours since the San Francisco 49ers released repeatedly troubled outside linebacker Aldon Smith, the thought has quickly crossed your mind as to whether or not the Dallas Cowboys might take a shot.

Okay, maybe you haven’t, but I have and I’m betting that I’m not alone.

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Now, this is not a prediction piece. I’m not suggesting that Dallas will or won’t take an interest in Smith, who happens to be still shy of 26-years-old while also sporting a remarkably similar skill set to that of franchise sack leader DeMarcus Ware, now playing with the Denver Broncos.

Smith has 44 sacks in just 50 games as a player in the NFL, each game as a member of the 49ers. These are numbers that make every team in the NFL think for a minute – or two. It matters not whether they’ll admit it or not.

The former pass-rush specialist racked up an eye-popping 14.0 sacks as a rookie out of University of Missouri and followed that up with an even more impressive 19.5 the following year, which is about the time things started flying south for this young star.

In the wake of Smith’s Friday arrest and release by San Francisco, one – or many – are wondering what comes next.

Back to the Cowboys.

Last year’s surprising 12-4 race through the regular season helped Dallas not only win the NFC East but also reach the divisional playoffs, where America’s Team fell to the Green Bay Packers just a week away from the NFC Championship Game. The Cowboys were clearly just a better pass rush away from likely appearing in Super Bowl XLIX, especially when you consider how poorly the Seattle Seahawks played in front of their home crowd in that particular title game. Remember that Dallas had already beaten the “Hawks in Seattle previously during the regular season.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones made it a priority to beef up his team’s ability to rush opposing quarterbacks. Following a season in which Jeremy Mincey led the team in sacks with exactly six, it was rather obvious that this area needed to improve.

So, enter exiled Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy and University of Nebraska star pass-rusher Randy Gregory, who will both team up with Mincey and last year’s second-round draft selection DeMarcus Lawrence in helping Dallas do what it could not a year ago.

Do the Cowboys need Smith?

No, at least not right now.

Remember that Gregory comes with his own off-the-field concerns and that Hardy is only playing on a one-year, incentive-laden contract which shows virtually no long-term commitment from the Cowboys.

As far as the 2015 regular season goes, Dallas should be in better shape where the front four of this relatively new 4-3 defensive front in concerned.

But what about 2016 and beyond?

Sure, this is a good ways down the road, but it’s not that far off.

It’s also true that Smith will likely face some sort of disciplinary action from the credibility-lacking NFL, which could put Smith’s return to the field closer to 2017 – or beyond.

The way it looks right now, Smith might not even play in the NFL again.

Assuming Smith does get yet another chance to play a kid’s game for millions of dollars, which I’m pretty sure he will, where would you suspect he ends up playing again?

No matter what team you support, if any, the Cowboys have to come to mind.

Another key to Smith possibly ending up in Dallas is one of the members of this year’s class entering the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Charles Haley was once a problematic pass-rusher in San Francisco. While the circumstances surrounding Haley and Smith are quite different, there’s also some similarities, the least of which is the fact that the 49ers franchise grew tired of each and sent them on their way. Haley was traded and Smith was released just this week.

So, it wouldn’t be the first time the Cowboys were there to grab up a member of the 49ers organization that might not have fit there, but definitely did in Big D – you’re aware of the impact Haley made on the Cowboys, right?

If not, you can find out more here.

Haley’s continued involvement with the Cowboys, which includes a mentoring role with Gregory, might just tip the scales in Dallas’ favor should they want to take a flier – a really cheap flier – on Smith somewhere down the road.

Frankly, I can’t see the Cowboys bringing in Smith to help this football team. Despite the support system in place at Valley Ranch and the franchise’s history of taking chances on high-risk players, Smith would seem like a real long shot to wear the Blue Star.

At the very least, Smith would face a significant position change with Dallas in going from an outside, standup linebacker to a defensive end with his hand on the ground. The Cowboys ran the exact same process with both Haley and Ware in different eras, but with somewhat mixed results concerning the latter.

Is Smith what head coach Jason Garrett would describe as the “right kind of guy?”

I can’t imagine that’s the case.

Nonetheless, what other team(s) could you see giving Smith another shot? I mean, linebacker Rolando McClain is still on the team, kind of.

Amongst a likely short list of teams that might aim to grab up Smith in the more distant future, it’s hard for me to imagine the Cowboys not on that list.

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