There was a bit of interesting NFC South news yesterday when the Bucs made a somewhat...questionable roster move.
Bucs have indeed waived DE Jacquies Smith today. Great find off waivers in 2014-15 with 13.5 sacks. Missed past year after ACL surgery.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 4, 2017
As Auman says above, the 6’2, 260 lb DE Jacquies Smith was an excellent “diamond-in-the-rough” find by the Buccaneers in 2014. Smith had 6.5 sacks in only 7 starts for Tampa Bay in his first season with the team, and followed that up with a 7 sack performance in 2015. He was never a great run defender, but he was an explosive pass rusher that looked to be on the upswing heading into 2016.
Unfortunately, Smith lost almost all of 2016 to an ACL tear—which he was still recovering from during the first few weeks of the 2017 season. There’s a lot of speculation going on about why the Bucs cut such a promising player—particularly when they’ve struggled to rush the passer this season and Smith is only 27 years old—but no hard answers yet. It seems like the Bucs simply weren’t happy with his progress coming off his ACL tear and didn’t want to wait any longer for results.
It’s a mind-boggling decision that calls to mind the whole Jonathan Massaquoi “controversy” in Atlanta. Now, there are a few key differences—namely, Massaquoi wasn’t hurt and Smith is actually a good pass rusher—but the willingness of Mike Smith and Co. to jettison a key contributor to the pass rush when the team has very limited options on the edge is...painfully familiar.
All that being said, could the Falcons be interested in Jacquies Smith?
The answer is maybe, but probably not. If Smith was fully healthy now and the Falcons expected Vic Beasley to miss a few more games, I think they’d be in hot pursuit. But, with the knowledge that Smith might not be ready to play yet and the potential that Vic might be good to go after the bye, it just doesn’t make a ton of sense unless the Falcons intend to move on from someone else in the rotation.
I’d love to just take a flier on Smith and see if he can return to form later this season. You can never have too many good pass rushers and Smith was a pretty darn good one before he got hurt last year. But, he’ll probably have many suitors that are offering more than the Falcons would want to pay for a “wait-and-see” guy. Teams like the Patriots—who are in desperate need of any pass rushing help—will probably be offering him plenty of cash and a starting role when he’s healthy.
Not to mention, the Falcons are likely looking for more of a “hybrid” player to replace DL Jack Crawford, and Smith is certainly not going to offer you anything against the run or on the interior. My favorite option is still ex-Lion DE Devin Taylor, but we’ll likely hear more about the Falcons’ decision in the very near future.
Best of luck to Jacquies Smith wherever he may end up—hopefully far away from the NFC South, and also hopefully not with the Patriots. Because those guys are the worst.
What are your thoughts on Smith? Do you think the Falcons should bring him in? Thoughts on the Bucs’ questionable decision to cut him in the first place?