Aldon Smith’s signing was the icing on the cake of the Seahawks’ pass race review this offseason. Considering how deep they had then – and still have – it felt more like a luxury than a necessity. But that was a one-year move in the making, with Seattle aggressively pursuing Smith on several occasions after his reinstatement from an initial one-year suspension that turned into a four.
As Smith continued a strong comeback campaign with the Cowboys in 2020, the Seahawks continued to watch him. They attempted to trade for him on the deadline to help bolster a struggling group of ridges, but landed on veteran Carlos Dunlap instead.
It has since become clear that the Seahawks feel there is room for Dunlap and Smith on their roster. After retaining the former for a two-year, $ 13.6 million contract, which appears to have solidified their final defensive position, rumors have started to circulate of their continued interest in the latter. These rumors finally came to fruition when Smith visited the Pacific Northwest, making a deal with Seattle on a one-year deal.
Fully aware of Smith’s troubled past, which includes several instances of alcohol abuse and domestic violence, the Seahawks were willing to take the risk and, given the friendly contract he signed, he didn’t. there was none to start with. After all, Smith as a rotating pass passer among players like Dunlap, Benson Mayowa, Kerry Hyder and Darrell Taylor would be a scary sight for opposing offensive lines. But it seems unlikely that will become a reality now that Smith has found himself in trouble with the law again.
Just four days after signing his agreement with Seattle, Smith had an arrest warrant against him in St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana. Wanted on allegations of second degree violence, he surrendered on April 21 and was later released on $ 25,000 bail with an indictment scheduled for July 14.
While things certainly look less than favorable for Smith at the moment, no guarantees can be given as to his future in football – both positive and negative. The Seahawks will play the long game with it after choosing not to release him, perhaps as a sign the 31-year-old may be able to dodge the likely end of his NFL career.
If so, and Smith is able to join the team at some point this year, it raises an important question put on the back burner by his arrest: what the Seahawks’ plan is with Rasheem Green and – to a lesser extent . – Alton Robinson?
Looking at Seattle’s roster right now, the two would lose the most if Smith was allowed to play. Robinson, after impressing in a limited role as a rookie last year, would likely see his playing time decrease even more. And there may not be a place on the list for Green, who has had his moments but has been disappointing overall as a former third round selection.
In the past five seasons, the Seahawks have scored more than five defensive ends in their original 53-man squad just once (2019). There are currently eight players vying for places with Dunlap, Hyder, Mayowa, Taylor, Robinson, Green, Smith, LJ Collier and Marcus Webb.
As unlikely as it may be, keeping seven of eight isn’t necessarily an impossibility, especially if Taylor wins the starting position at the strong-side linebacker. This could be further helped by limiting the amount of “real” defensive tackles they bring, instead moving Collier and / or Green inside more often than in years past.
An exchange seems more likely, however, and it may be true whether or not Smith returns.
In Green’s specific case, maybe that’s what’s best for both parties. With Hyder and Collier in tow, Green’s place on the list seems rather redundant. The Seahawks clearly have two players in front of him for shots in the big end / five tech role, and can carry four traditional indoor players as well. Playing time will be hard to find for him with or without Smith as they aren’t even comparable in role – Smith is playing at the other end of the line, in the LEO position.
Smith’s chances of never playing for the Seahawks and Green coming out this summer may coexist rather than one depending on the outcome of the other.
Of course, trading Green – if possible – won’t pay off much in Seattle. The 24-year-old is entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract and has been inconsistent at best in the first three. At most, the Seahawks are likely eyeing a 2022 seventh-round pick in return.
Robinson, on the other hand, could potentially gain a little more value, but not by much – perhaps a slight boost from a seventh to sixth round selection. While Smith’s presence would take away opportunities in 2021, the fact that Robinson is still in the squad’s control throughout the 2023 season cannot be ignored. And after the rookie year he’s put forward, letting him continue to develop behind a solid group of veteran passing throwers could do wonders for his respective future and that of the team.
That said, neither should we assume that Smith is a part of the squad if he’s able to play. Cutting it off would cost the Seahawks just $ 137,500 in dead money and save them $ 850,000, according to OverTheCap.com.
If it is a battle at camp, however, Smith and Robinson likely have the edge over Green. Smith gives them an edge in their depth at LEO for 2021, while Robinson offers more long-term value. This, of course, assumes they are wearing two of the three.
At the very least, it’s a good problem to have, but one that relies on a long series of “ifs”. And perhaps the biggest “if” in all of this is Smith’s status, although that’s not exactly the domino that must fall to determine Green and Robinson’s future in Seattle.