Aldon Smith started strong with the Dallas Cowboys, but he faded fast
Aldon Smith was one of the few positive storylines to develop from the Dallas Cowboys disastrous 2020 campaign. After spending nearly five seasons away from the game, Smith got his life back on track, making a courageous, and quite improbable, NFL comeback.
Shockingly, Aldon Smith didn’t just ease into action like one might expect. Rather he burst onto the scene, and for the second time in his career, he took the NFL by surprise. In Aldon’s first three games for the Dallas Cowboys he collected four sacks, three tackles for loss and 8.5 splash plays.
He created so much early season buzz, he was one of the hottest names in the rumor mill when the NFL trade deadline approached. While Jerry and Stephen Jones were happy to sell off players who didn’t fit their long-term vision, they balked at trading away Smith, indicating they had interest in re-signing him beyond 2020.
But that was then and this is now. And Aldon Smith isn’t the same guy today he appeared to be the first few weeks of the season.
Since getting off to a red-hot start, Aldon Smith cooled off considerably. He lacked the burst and the brute strength he displayed early in the season. His numbers cratered and it wasn’t because Randy Gregory was taking snaps away either. Even with Gregory’s return, Smith maintained nearly the same snap count and snap percentage (between 41-59 snaps per game). He just wasn’t an impact player anymore.
Was the decline because he was playing hurt? Was it because he was away for so long and had trouble getting in proper shape? Did the wear and tear of a hard life away from the game take it’s toll on his stamina?
Anyone offering Aldon a new deal needs to know which guy is the real Aldon. The first Aldon looked like a Pro Bowler. The second one looked like a lower tier rotational piece. I don’t have to tell you, the difference in salary between the two is pretty dang significant.
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While most Dallas Cowboys fans would love to bring Aldon back in 2021, it’s going to come down to price. Aldon failed to monetize on his prime years and will be looking to earn as much as he can on his next deal. He’s simply not in a position to take any sort of discount.
And with Mike Nolan and Jim Tomsula now gone, I’m not entirely sure he even wants to re-sign with the Dallas Cowboys.
At the end of the day, the Cowboys are better off giving more snaps to Randy Gregory than splitting them with Smith. And Bradlee Anae may not be as exciting of a rotational piece as Aldon Smith is behind Gregory, but he’s a heckuva lot cheaper.
If Aldon Smith wants to come back on a similar contract that he played on in 2020, by all means re-sign him. But his play was very up and down and it’s hard to know which Smith the Dallas Cowboys would be re-signing.