The New York Giants need help with their pass rush so it’s only natural they’re looking at Aldon Smith, recently released by the San Francisco 49ers. But it wouldn’t be surprising if he’d be suspended for the entire season by the league.
Smith, a Pro Bowler and All-Pro in 2012, was released by the 49ers following his DUI last week, making it his fifth arrest since being drafted in 2011. He was arrested in Santa Clara County early Friday on suspicion of DUI, hit and run and vandalism after hitting a parked car with his own car and leaving the scene.
Smith missed five games in after entering a drug rehabilitation clinic in 2013. He was suspended for nine games in 2014 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse and personal conduct guidelines. The 49ers, a team that seemed to have lower morale standards than anyone else last season, eventually couldn’t take Smith’s arrests and behavior anymore and released him, maybe because they saw his performance on the field was declining and that bix extension was coming up as well.
The Giants have problems of their own with their premier pass rusher, Jason Pierre-Paul. Pierre-Paul is in a weird, unknown state of rehabbing from playing with fireworks and injuring his hand, resulting in an amputated finger. He should be able to play this season, but right now there are a lot of questions without too many answers.
Is Smith the man to fill his shoes? Talent-wise he probably fits the bill. But the problem with Smith hasn’t been his production. After five arrests and missing more than half a season due to suspension a year ago, it’s going to be difficult convincing the league they shouldn’t punish him more severely this time, and who knows, maybe even seeing the last of him in the NFL.
Smith has played 50 games for the 49ers, picking up 44 career sacks. However, 33.5 of those sacks came during his first two seasons in the league, clearly showing that there’s more to his release than just bad behavior.