The Green Bay Packers waived inside linebacker D.J. Smith and running back Brandon Saine on Wednesday for two completely different reasons. However, the common theme for both players is that the Packers believe they can succeed without them in 2013.
Smith played in six games for Green Bay last season in which he recorded 39 combined tackles, two sacks and four passes defended. After looking like a huge asset for the team, Smith’s season unfortunately ended after he suffered a torn ACL against the Houston Texans. The injury single-handedly cost him his spot on the roster for the upcoming season.
Brad Jones replaced Smith as the starter and never looked back. The 27-year-old posted 77 combined tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble and four passes defended in 16 games. The Packers awarded him with a three-year, $11.75 million contract due to his outstanding play. With Jones re-signed, A.J. Hawk’s contract restructured, Desmond Bishop able to return after a hamstring injury and Robert Francois signed to a one-year deal, there is simply no room for Smith on the team.
There is no question many fans were disappointed to hear Smith get released considering how much promise he showed the past two seasons. However, this is what happens when an NFL team has too many good players and not enough cap room.
Meanwhile, Saine was waived because he simply failed a team physical. The 24-year-old tore his anterior cruciate ligament last season and he clearly did not get far enough in the rehabilitation process.
This move does not come as a surprise considering there was most likely going to be no room on the team for him in the first place. Green Bay’s running back corps is filled to the brim with the emergence of DuJuan Harris, James Starks and Alex Green. Not to mention, there is a good chance the Packers will still bring back veteran Cedric Benson. On top of that, expect Green Bay to select at least one running back in this week’s NFL Draft.