After they were unable to get a deal done earlier in the week with either Kareem Hunt or Anthony Barr, the New Orleans Saints signed another linebacker in veteran Jaylon Smith. The news was announced by Jordan Schultz via X.
New Orleans decided to add more depth to the linebacker room after Andrew Dowell was put on injured reserve with others like Eno Benjamin and Trai Turner.
Smith was drafted 34th overall in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cowboys. He would spend his first five seasons with Dallas and recorded 516 tackles, nine sacks, six forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and 20 passes defended. From 2018-2020, Smith eclipsed 120 tackles with his career-high being 154.
The Fort Wayne, Indiana native was selected to a Pro Bowl in 2019, and in that same year was awarded a five-year, $64 million contract extension by the Cowboys.
By the 2021 season, Smith’s contract became too expensive for Jerry Jones and was released by Dallas that October. He then had a short stint with the Green Bay Packers and then found a home with the New York Giants that same season.
Smith would stay with the Giants in the 2022 season where he played 13 games and recorded 88 tackles, one sack, and a fumble recovery as New York finished with a 9-7-1 record and would make it to the playoffs and would take down the Minnesota Vikings 31-24 in the Wild Card round, but then was eliminated by the NFC East division rival Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round 38-7.
The 28-year-old will join a linebacker room of the Saints that is highlighted by Demario Davis and Pete Werner, who are the clear starters. Smith will be in competition with others like Zack Baun, Anfernee Orji, Nick Anderson, D’Marco Jackson, Nephi Sewell, Ty Summers, and Ryan Connelly.
The first preseason game for the Saints will be Sunday, August 13th as New Orleans will host the Kansas City Chiefs. The kickoff is set for 12:00 p.m.