The Los Angeles Chargers are atop the AFC West after a pair of statement victories over the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders in back-to-back weeks. New head coach Brandon Staley has this team clicking on all cylinders and playing excellent football early in the season.
The Chargers just topped the Raiders in a huge Monday night showdown as Justin Herbert set another NFL record and continues to prove his worth. Joey Bosa and Derwin James have been sensational, and the Chargers edge rusher ripped the refs and dropped some comments on Derek Carr after the victory.
However, the Dallas Cowboys made the shocking decision to release Jaylon Smith on Tuesday. The Chargers could benefit from taking a flier on Smith and putting him on the same defense as the studs mentioned above, not to mention talented rookie Asante Samuel Jr.
Cowboys cutting ties with Jaylon Smith was certainly a surprise
The timing of the move was perhaps the most surprising. The Cowboys have begun the season 3-1 and are in a prime position to take the NFC East division crown as Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have played good football and even beat the Chargers in Week 2.
Nonetheless, it was only a matter of time before Smith was let go, especially with his contract numbers and the team’s insistence to get rid of the injury guarantee for the 2022 season (h/t Mike Garofolo of NFL Network).
Smith is still owed more than $7 million for the 2021 season as well. It might be a surprise due to the timing, but it was inevitable as Smith’s snap counts went down dramatically over the past few weeks.
The former Cowboys linebacker played less than half of the team’s snaps on Sunday’s victory over the Carolina Panthers, which tells how they feel about him.
Smith should have his fair share of suitors and has suited up in every game since the 2017 season. The former 2016 second-round pick out of Notre Dame should have a busy few days as teams inquire about his services, and the Chargers should at least pick up the phone and give it some thought.
The addition of Smith would be lethal for the Chargers
Oh boy, those three together could be dangerous, even more with Staley calling the plays on defense. By now, everybody knows how good James can be when he is healthy, and Bosa continues to play at a Pro Bowl level every season.
The Chargers also suffered an injury to Kenneth Murray, although his trip to the injured reserve is supposed to be a three-week minimum. Nonetheless, adding a talent such as Smith in the middle of the season is rare, and the Chargers could benefit from it.
Staley is fresh off leading the LA Rams to the top defense in the NFL in 2020 with guys like Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald, and the Chargers defense has been playing well to begin the season.
Do the Chargers need Smith? No, but it might be worth some consideration, and having those three together– along with Samuel and rising corner Michael Davis– would be something to watch in beautiful SoFi Stadium.
The chances for the Chargers are slim but the talent is evident
The Chargers’ new head coach is still heavily involved with the defense, and it has paid off thus far. Reports have come out that Smith wants to join the Green Bay Packers, and there is probable cause for just about every NFL team to consider signing the former Cowboys linebacker.
The Chargers defense should suffice without Smith, but it certainly won’t hurt to inquire about his services, and who knows what Staley could do with another terrific talent such as Smith.
Regardless, it is extremely rare that a team released a starting-caliber linebacker and former Pro Bowler in the middle of a season. Even with the money remaining on Smith’s contract, he should land somewhere very soon and play a big role in whichever city he calls home.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference