POLL: Should the Raiders re-sign Aldon Smith?
Sep 13, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive end Aldon Smith (99) stands on the field before the start of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
The Aldon Smith suspension news came as a bit of a surprise, at least with the timing of it. The severity of the suspension is another debate, but the fact is that Aldon won’t be able to return to a football field for a calendar year.
It’s no secret that the NFL’s disciplinary process doesn’t make any sense, so it’s possible that Aldon’s suspension could be reduced through an appeal, but that process would take many months to play out.
For now, the Oakland Raiders will have to operate under the assumption that Aldon Smith won’t be eligible to sign with any team until November 17th, 2016.
In a PR statement, Aldon indicated in the last sentence that he would be back with the Raiders next season.
"“First, I want to thank the Raiders, my teammates, the fans, our coaches and our owner for supporting me throughout all of this.I am taking this time to work on myself and become the man I need to be, my team and organization needs me to be, and I know I can be.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.”"
The question is, should the team re-sign him?
In nine games played, Aldon registered just 3.5 sacks. Far from the huge numbers he posted during his time in San Francisco.
Smith was solid against the run, though, and he seemed to fit in well in the locker room. When news of his suspension broke, several teammates (notably Derek Carr) tweeted out their support for Aldon.
It’s possible that the Raiders could again sign Aldon to a one-year deal, just through end of the 2016 season. Let him get six or seven games in and then discuss a longer-term contract after the season. Or it’s possible the team could franchise tag him.
So there will be several options to consider. The Raiders won’t retain his rights, however, so he will be free to sign with any team interested. But Oakland did show support when many teams didn’t, so it’s likely Aldon will value that when deciding what to do.
On the flip side, it’s hard to say whether Aldon will ever be the same player he once was, or even close to that. Also, are his behavioral issues really behind him? A year of good behavior will be very important to his NFL future.
Also, pass rush is such an important position that the Raiders could address it via the draft, free agency, or both. It could be unwise to wait on Aldon to sign back, and pass on several quality options as a result.
He won’t be turning 27 until September of 2016 though, so there is certainly an opportunity for many productive years ahead.
With all that being said, what would you like the Raiders to do in regards to Aldon Smith? Sign him or don’t sign him? Long-term or short term? Franchise tag?
Vote in the poll below and be sure to drop a comment with an explanation, since there are several different ways to approach this.