NFL Free Agency: 3 teams that should sign Jaylon Smith

Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith
Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith
Nick Goodling

Jaylon Smith didn't have the most gracious exit from the Dallas Cowboys. The 2016 second-round pick saw his play regress in his final two seasons with the Cowboys. But when Smith came out of the draft, he earned player comparisons to Patrick Willis.

Smith is best suited in coverage where he can use his range and speed to keep up with players. His tackling isn't as consistent as it once was, but he can fix that with proper coaching. As we enter the final third of the season, some teams could benefit from taking a chance on the 26-year-old.

The #Cowboys have released LB Jaylon Smith per @AdamSchefter Smith: 69.5 grade in 2021 (11th among LBs, min. 100 snaps)

Here are three NFL teams that should sign Jaylon Smith

#1 Pittsburgh Steelers

For as much criticism goes towards Ben Roethlisberger and the offense, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense has disappointed this year. Devin Bush, in particular, has struggled to tackle and cover at middle linebacker. Bush was supposed to be a stud in year three, but he's regressed harshly.

Jaylon Smith won't be an immediate sure-fire upgrade over Bush. But Smith would give Bush competition that would force him to raise his level of play. The Steelers are also a team that's shallow in their linebacker depth.

The Steelers are losing ground in the AFC North. A loss to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday practically eliminates them from the divisional race. But gambling on Jaylon Smith could pay off and give the Steelers some juice.

#2 New England Patriots

Do the New England Patriots need Jaylon Smith? Not really, as they've surpassed the Buffalo Bills as having the most dominant defense in the NFL over the last six weeks. But Smith could add depth to a linebacking core that's played splendidly but has a weakness in age.

The #Patriots defense continued their hot streak, holding the Titans to just 13 points in their Week 12 victory.New England's elite pass defense has driven their current six game win streak, leading the NFL in various pass rush and coverage metrics.#TENvsNE | #ForeverNE

Don'ta Hightower is 31, and Kyle Van Noy is 30. Neither player is past their prime years, but injuries are more likely after turning 30. With Josh Uche on injured reserve, there's a roster spot available for Smith.

Being coached by Bill Belichick would do wonders for Jaylon Smith's career. Belichick is famous for taking cast aside players and revitalizing their careers. Smith could be the latest example of that should the Patriots have any interest.

#3 Buffalo Bills

The Bills are in the same boat as the Patriots, where signing Smith wouldn't be out of necessity. Instead, Smith would be the first-string backup linebacker to Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds. Edmunds is one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL, and the Bills' defense is drastically different when he doesn't play.

Sean McDermott is one of the most gifted defensive-minded coaches in the NFL. Like Belichick, McDermott would find the best role for Smith and coach him through his weaknesses.

The Bills are in a heated race for the AFC East with the Patriots, something as small as having better depth at linebacker could make a big difference. Smith can't be counted on to fix a defense by himself at this point in his career. But he can be useful to squad depth wherever he goes.

Also Check Out: Complete NFL Week 14 TV Schedule

Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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