The Green Bay Packers missed out on the Stephon Gilmore sweepstakes, but they are still in the mix for another high-value target. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Packers are interested in signing former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith.
Keep an eye on the #Packers for former #Cowboys Pro Bowl LB Jaylon Smith, sources say. They are making a push. Coach Matt LaFleur was at Notre Dame with Smith and is a fan. Multiple teams are still in the mix, as well, and it’s not over yet.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 6, 2021
As Rapoport noted, Matt LaFleur spent time with Smith at the University of Notre Dame. LaFleur was the quarterbacks’ coach in 2014 when Smith was a junior. Perhaps, that familiarity will entice Smith to come to Green Bay.
Dallas released Smith on Tuesday after the 26-year-old linebacker went through a rough start to his 2021 season. The Cowboys have other options at linebacker, including Leighton Vander Esch and rookies Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox.
Meanwhile, the Packers have seen improvement in their linebacker play thanks to free-agent acquisition De’Vondre Campbell. Campbell is currently the sixth-highest rated linebacker, according to Pro Football Focus. Smith is 23rd.
Smith would come in and contribute right away to Green Bay’s defense. He has yet to miss a game in his career and was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2019. During his career, Smith has totaled 516 tackles, 9.0 sacks, six forced fumbles, and two interceptions.
That kind of playmaking would certainly be welcomed on a team that has struggled to find consistency at the linebacker spot.