Having not played a game since November 15th of 2015, it’s time that the Oakland Raiders put an end to the Aldon Smith experiment.
Although he has talent that is completely out of this world, the time has come for the Oakland Raiders cut ties with Aldon Smith.
Having not played since November 15th, 2015 it is an anomaly at this point. The Raiders cannot, nor should they, depend on Smith.
In Aldon’s 10 games with the Raiders, he tallied a total of 28 tackles and a modest 3.5 sacks. Although Smith was not the premiere pass rusher that he was during his time with the San Francisco 49ers, he was still very useful against the run, and was a solid piece on a ‘middle of the pack’ Raiders defense in 2015.
After the suspension was handed down, Smith was relatively quiet, up until one of his periscope video were leaked. In the video, it was shown someone was smoking marijuana with a woman. It is unclear whether this was Aldon or not. But shortly after the video — on July 26th, 2016 — Smith checked himself into a rehabilitation facility.
Checking into rehab does not indicate direct guilt, but it should be common sense that if someone checks into rehab, they must be battling some sort of addiction.
After Smith was cleared out of rehab, he was found courtside at a Warriors game and appeared to be in good spirits and fantastic shape. This was exciting for all of Raider Nation, as the team was starting to really hit its peak, and being able to add on a player of Aldon Smith’s caliber could potentially push them over the top.
After reading these direct quotes from Aldon about his reinstatement, it was clear that without being there and hearing those words come out of his mouth, this might have came off a bit arrogant, and could have completely been taken out of context.
After a full calendar year, most were wondering when commissioner Roger Goodell, would lift the ban and reinstate Aldon. That never happened.
Via Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, Smith’s personal trainer said Smith was “mad and frustrated” that the NFL still hadn’t acted on his petition for reinstatement.
After Aldon lashed out, the writing was on the wall at that point that he was not going to play in the 2016 season, and would be eligible to return in March of 2017.
At this point, Aldon Smith has become a distraction. It has been exactly 447 days since we have seen Smith on the field. Who knows if the Raiders will even get the same Aldon Smith that everyone once knew?
Even if Smith could make an impact, there is no telling whether he could get into trouble again, and cost the Raiders more of a heartache down the road.
If released, the Raiders would save $5.75 million in cap space with no dead money hit. And with upcoming extensions on Derek Carr, Gabe Jackson, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper, Reggie McKenzie will need every penny he can find to keep the roster competitive.
With the Raiders positioned at the 24th spot in the NFL draft this year, it is not out of the realm of possibility that Reggie McKenzie takes a pass rusher. You can never have enough pass rushers.
In addition, signing Bruce Irvin the previous offseason showed that the Raiders have someone that can complement Khalil Mack. Irvin blossomed into his own this past year, and has turned into everything that Aldon isn’t, and then some.
While Irvin was vocal in his efforts to be able to team up with Aldon, maybe Reggie McKenzie and ownership view Aldon as too much of a risk.
As much as Smith might be needed for the Raiders, there is a new culture and foundation that has been built in Oakland, and Aldon Smith does not seem to be someone who has come to terms with that.
The thought of seeing Aldon Smith with Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin, and Mario Edwards Jr. would make any Raiders fan salivate at the mouth, but the Raiders should pull the plug on the Aldon Smith experiment.