Veteran pass rusher Aldon Smith won’t return to the Dallas Cowboys for the 2021 NFL season after the organization opted against offering him a new deal. The Cowboys reportedly informed Smith about their decision earlier this week.
The news comes as a surprise, especially since the Cowboys rejected several trade proposals for Smith ahead of the last season’s deadline. Also, the 31-year-old Smith was among the team’s most productive players on defense in 2020, starting all 16 games and totaling 48 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 14 QB hits, and a defensive touchdown.
Reportedly, Dallas changed their mind about Smith after picking up veteran Tarell Basham in the free agency. The organization is also looking to give a bigger role to 2015’s second-round pick Randy Gregory, which would be harder to do if Smith remained on the team.
Aldon Smith, who was the No.7 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, previously played with San Francisco 49ers and the Raiders. After serving several suspensions early in his career, Smith was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in 2015 and missed four seasons before returning last year.
Smith has 228 career tackles to go with 52.5 sacks, 103 QB hits, and six forced fumbles. He has one Pro Bowl nod and a First-Team All-Pro selection, both from 2012.