GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers did not land former All-Professional cornerback Stephon Gilmore however might have discovered assist for his or her protection in spite of everything in former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith.
Smith signed with the Packers on Thursday, together with his agent, Doug Hendrickson of Wasserman, telling ESPN’s Adam Schefter it’s a one-year deal.
The transfer got here a day after information broke that the Packers had been a possible suitor for Gilmore shortly earlier than he was traded from the New England Patriots to the Carolina Panthers for a 2023 sixth-round draft choose. However the Packers didn’t have sufficient salary-cap space to amass Gilmore in a commerce as a result of they must inherit the remaining $5.8 million of his base wage on this yr’s wage cap. The Packers began Thursday with about $6.5 million in cap area and nonetheless want room for the in-season strikes that accidents may necessitate.
Smith, nonetheless, suits beneath the cap as a result of the Cowboys are on the hook for the whole lot of his $7.2 million base wage this season on account of veteran termination pay guidelines.
He crammed the roster spot of outdoor linebacker Chauncey Rivers, who was positioned on injured reserve. Rivers tore an ACL on the second-to-last play of follow Wednesday, a supply advised ESPN.
“Nothing’s official but, however I am going again a very long time with Jaylon,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur, who coached Smith at Notre Dame, mentioned earlier than the signing was introduced. “I’ve all the time had a variety of respect for him, not solely as a soccer participant however as a person. He was considered one of my favorites once I was at Notre Dame. I simply assume a veteran man who’s performed at a extremely excessive stage and simply can deliver type of a mentality and management to our protection.
“Actually, he will be behind fairly a bit, being the very fact we’re heading to Week 5 and it is a completely completely different system, so there’s going to be a variety of work that must be put in, not solely from him however from our teaching employees to get him up to the mark. However we’ll let him type of are available right here and compete to play.”
With the Packers, Smith may work his means into the beginning lineup alongside De’Vondre Campbell, who has been considered one of their largest playmakers this season, or just provide backup depth. Second-year professional Krys Barnes opened the season as the opposite beginning inside linebacker; he missed final week’s sport in opposition to the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a concussion he suffered the earlier week in opposition to the San Francisco 49ers.
LaFleur mentioned it was unlikely Smith would play Sunday on the Cincinnati Bengals.
Smith, 26, noticed his position with the Cowboys diminish with the addition of first-round choose Micah Parsons, the manufacturing from Leighton Vander Esch and the return of Keanu Neal from the reserve/COVID-19 record.
Smith was a second-round choose by the Cowboys in 2016 although they thought of it unlikely for him to play for a yr given the knee damage he suffered in his closing faculty sport.
He made his debut in 2017 and has performed in each sport since.