Aldon Smith was arrested in August for DUI, Hit and Run and Vandalism and this ultimately triggered his release from the San Francisco 49ers. Despite knowing he would eventually be disciplined, the Oakland Raiders went ahead and signed him anyway hoping to get some production out of him and they have. He’s not the same player he once was (mind you he’s only been in the league 5 years). In his first two years in the league Smith totaled 33.5 sacks (including 19.5 in 2012), but since then he’s missed as many games due to his personal issues as he has sacks, 14. In 2013 he missed 5 games due to his stint in rehab and in 2014 he served a 9 game suspension. This season he has just 3.5 sacks and his 27 QB hurries have him tied for 7th among 3-4 OLBs according to Pro Football Focus. He’s been praised by the Raiders for his attitude, behavior and performance this season.
But don’t you dare feel bad for Aldon Smith. Don’t feel bad for the money he’s going to be losing. His one year deal could have earned him almost $8 million with bonuses and incentives.
Definitely do not bring up the fact Greg Hardy, who was suspended for 19 games, is still playing and Aldon Smith will be suspended for a year. Keep in mind that he isn’t just being suspended for his August arrest. This is his fifth arrest since he’s been in the NFL. This includes multiple DUI arrest, felony gun charges and a fake bomb threat at LAX. Basically the man done been through some shit.
Smith is just 26, he’ll be okay. This is time he needs to really do some soul searching.
“I had lost my love for the game and it led me to some poor choices, but I am thankful to the Raider organization for believing in me this season and will continue to better myself and grow from my experiences. I look forward to rejoining the team next year.” – Aldon Smith on his suspension
I’ve always hated watching people go through shit and when they get the one thing that matters to them the most taken away from them, they usually self destruct. Hopefully Aldon Smith not only manages to keep his love for football over the next year, I hope he finds ways to love himself and remind himself that there is more to life than football. This is going to be the most important 12 months of his life.
The Raiders will most likely re-sign him in the offseason and this can be a move that greatly impacts their future. Smith was rounding into form the last few weeks, proving to be a good complimentary piece to Khalil Mack, the 2014 first round pick who has already proved to be a star in this league. Oakland has a ton of cap space and will most likely be looking at a mid first round draft pick in 2016. I’m in the business of calling a spade a spade so their defense currently stinks right now. Their defense ranks 30th in passing yards and you can probably figure that might get worse anyway.