Veteran Daryl Smith is one of the most underrated linebackers in the NFL. He’s also one of the best available talents on the open market after the Jacksonville Jaguars let him walk via free agency this offseason.
Just because the Jaguars opted not to re-sign Smith doesn’t mean that he can’t be a part of their 2013 plans. Despite the addition of Geno Hayes, the team is fairly weak at outside linebacker, which could eventually open up a door for a player who the Jaguars have shown no interest in bringing back.
The 32-year-old linebacker missed all but two of the Jaguars’ games in 2012 while battling a serious groin injury. In his eight seasons prior to last year, though, Smith was a monster amongst the Jacksonville defense, racking up 672 total tackles, 21.5 sacks, nine forced fumbles and six interceptions. His sure tackling and natural instincts helped make him one of the best (and most underappreciated) linebackers throughout the league.
Despite his resume, Smith has received little interest since hitting the open market. He visited with the St. Louis Rams, but left without a deal. His standing as an extremely underrated player, though, could be a prime reason for his current unemployment.
Smith is an extremely productive player who has history with the team and the type of leadership that this rebuilding roster needs moving forward. Even with little long-term appeal, Smith makes plenty of sense for the Jaguars as they hope to bounce back from a disastrous 2012 campaign.
The Jaguars still need to patch several holes before they can return to “contender” status. Re-signing Smith would be a step in the right direction.