Aldon Smith arrived in the NFL just five picks after Von Miller in the 2011 NFL draft. Selected by the San Francisco 49ers, he had a productive career for the then-defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
Fangio would leave to become the defensive coordinator in Chicago while Smith would encounter some off-the-field drama that led to his suspension from the NFL for a whopping four seasons. Cut to 2020 and the Dallas Cowboys signed Smith, who went on to provide five sacks in 16 starts.
ESPN's Ed Werder reported on Wednesday that the Cowboys are releasing Smith, the news of which crossed the orbit of Denver insider Woody Paige, who mused the following on Twitter:
"Aldon Smith and Vic Fangio had close relationship in San Francisco, and coach has reached out to him often since and tried to help. The two could reunite in Denver," Paige tweeted.
Reuniting with Fangio could be just what the doctor ordered for Smith, who produced 44 sacks in four years under the defensive czar's tutelage in San Francisco. It would also follow the recent theme of ex-Fangio acolytes rejoining their mentor, like Bryce Callahan in 2019 and Kyle Fuller just last week.
Smith enters his age-32 season with relatively little wear-and-tear on his NFL tires. He started all 16 games last season in Dallas and could offer some serious rotational value to the Broncos behind Miller and Bradley Chubb.
The Broncos mined eight sacks out of Malik Reed last year in relief of Miller, but it's hard to say whether that production was a result of being in the right place at the right time or the player's own wherewithal. With Jeremiah Attaochu out the door in free agency (or at least, still unsigned), the Broncos could do worse than landing Smith.
The downside risk? It would depend on the contract GM George Paton would be able to land Smith with. The upside? A potential return to form under the very coach that made him a household name and presided over a whopping 19.5-sack season from Smith in his second year.
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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