After working him out on Tuesday, it appears the Detroit Lions will be signing defensive end Jacquies Smith. Smith’s agency congratulated him late Tuesday night on Tuesday:
Smith, himself, also seemed to indicate—via a vague Tweet—that he has been signed by Detroit:
Thankful for this opportunity blessed— Jacquies Smith (@Jachalp3) October 18, 2017
The Lions have yet to announce the move or any corresponding transactions to make room for the veteran edge rushers.
In college, Smith was a rising star at Mizzou, but an elbow injury caused a dip in his senior-year production and led to him going undrafted in 2012. From there, he bounced from the Dolphins to the CFL to the Jets to the Bills to the Buccaneers.
Each step of the way, coaches seemed regretful that they couldn’t find a spot for Smith. "Even though the numbers didn't work out, a lot of them told me they really didn't want to release me and they wanted to bring me back," Smith told Bleacher Report in an excellent profile from 2015. "But they flat-out told me, 'Once we put you on the waiver wire, you're probably not going to be back with us because we know another team's going to pick you up.' And that held true."
In Tampa, Smith finally got his opportunity to actually play. In his first two seasons with the Buccaneers, Smith tallied 13.5 sacks in 27 games (18 starts). He was poised for a breakout season in 2016 when he suffered an ACL tear that would end his year and cause him to miss even more time this season.
He was finally healthy enough to return to the Buccaneers lineup in Week 4, but after playing just seven snaps against the Giants, the team decided to release him on October 4.
Smith will bring some pass rushing experience to a Lions defense that desperately needs it. He’s a little undersized to be a prototypical 4-3 defensive end, but his specialty is rushing the passer, and that’s why the Lions likely picked him up.
Both Anthony Zettel and Ezekiel Ansah sat out of Tuesday’s practice, but this move likely has more to do with the extremely unproductive depth behind the Lions’ two starters. Just look at the stats from all of the Lions’ defensive ends not named Ansah or Zettel:
Cornelius Washington: 4 tackles, 0 sacks
Jeremiah Valoaga: 3 tackles, 1 sack
George Johnson: 2 tackles, 0 sacks
Alex Barrett: 1 tackle, 0 sacks
Detroit needs good rotational pieces along their defensive line, especially considering Ansah is still not 100 percent and seeing limited snaps. Hopefully, Smith is that guy.