Aldon Smith is a Hall of Fame talent; in my opinion he’s the best defensive end in football when he’s right. He had 19.5 sacks in 2012 as a 23 year old. I thought this guy was on his way to being an all-time great. And then trouble hit.
The latest being that Smith got a DUI, hit and run, and vandalism charge; and then a subsequent release from the 49ers. He will never again wear those great colors and won’t rise to prominence as part of one of the NFL’s most storied franchises.
Mike Florio speculates where Smith could next land over at Pro Football Talk:
But if someone wants to squat on his rights now, the smart move would be to insist on at least a two-year deal, since most if not all of this year could be lost to a suspension. (If the entire year is lost to a suspension, the contract would toll, extending the two years to 2016 and 2017.)
Apart from any league discipline, a new employer would have to be sure that Smith will once and for all find a way to overcome his apparent struggles with alcohol. After multiple trips to rehab, the issues remain. And with staying in the NFL not enough of an inducement to keep Smith away from alcohol, there’s no reason to believe just yet that the latest wakeup call will take.
Still, with great pass rushers a rarity and with coaches, General Managers, and owners hoping to compete for championships, a potential contender has to be thinking about what a focused and eligible Smith could do to make a good team into a potential Super Bowl team.
Intriguing landing spots for Smith include other teams in the NFC West, like the Seahawks and Cardinals. Or other potential NFC contenders, like the Packers, Lions, Vikings, Saints, Falcons, Cowboys, Eagles, and Giants. AFC teams like the Patriots, Steelers, Colts, and Chargers also could be intrigued.
Personally, I’m hoping the guy lands in Tampa Bay. Seeing Smith land in any of these major markets or on a contender’s roster would really suck, especially if it’s in the NFC and he’s going to be chasing after Jameis Winston. Right now, it seems like the guy has to get his personal life in order and stop slipping up. He’s an addict, and until he gets that part of his life right; he’s a liability to any team that would take him on.
And San Francisco led by new coach Jim Tomsula is an absolute dumpster fire right now. There are reports surfacing that Colin Kaepernick and Smith recently had an altercation at practice; which Kaepernick later disputed.
Aldon Smith I think is going to go down as a ‘what could have been’ tale, and I think his best years in the league are already behind him. He’s going to end up a Lawrence Taylor that never logged the years to put up the numbers. He’s absolutely that caliber of a rare talent.