The New Orleans Saints have already lost a number of coaches so far but could soon be losing some players as the off-season continues. One player that could be leaving the team is defensive end Will Smith. The veteran defensive end actually put up decent numbers during the bounty scandal-tainted season. Smith recorded 58 tackles and six sacks this past season, but he did not have any forced fumbles after having two last season. Smith was able to play in all 16 games for the Saints this year as he bounty suspension was eventually overturned.
Despite his decent production Smith’s days as a Saint could be numbered. For one, Smith is due about $10.15 million next season and unless his contract is restructured he will be a salary cap crusher. Another reason could be the fact that the Saints will be switching to a 3-4 defensive scheme as opposed to the 4-3 they ran this past season under recently fired defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo.
With Smith on the wrong side of 30 and a diminishing skill set there is reason to believe that he might not be the best fit for a 3-4 defense. Furthermore, the Saints have many younger defensive players who are quicker and could be better pass rushers in the 3-4 than Smith. With a shift on defense Smith figures to be the odd man out and could very well be released by the Saints this off-season.
There is a possibility that Smith might not be in a Saints uniform next season but only time will tell. However, there is also a possibility that Smith could get his contract restructured and find a spot in the 3-4 rotation because his veteran presence could be valuable to the younger Saints’ defensive players. It will be another interesting off-season for the Saints and it will be up to Sean Payton and the management to decided which players to keep and which players to let go.
Alejandro Aviles is the Featured Writer for the New Orleans Saints at Rant Sports @aaviles312