Aldon Smith is on the move in 2021, agreeing to terms with the Seattle Seahawks on a one-year deal, a source confirms to CBS Sports. In the midst of being reinstated from an indefinite suspension in 2020, he signed with the Dallas Cowboys on a one-year deal that was viewed as a prove-it deal both on and off of the field. He went on to burst out of the gate with four sacks in his first four games, despite having not taken an NFL snap since 2015, leading to both he and the Cowboys sharing a mutual interest in keeping the band together.
He then cooled noticeably to finish the year with five sacks in all, and the dismissal of defensive line coach Jim Tomsula -- his longtime mentor -- helped to derail what was a promising union in Dallas. The momentum toward a potential re-signing took a u-turn at that point, and newly-hired defensive coordinator Dan Quinn also had other plans, going on to add Tarell Basham to his new-look defense this offseason. Smith and Basham weren't wildly different in how they produced last season, and sources marked the signing as a strong indicator Smith and the Cowboys would part ways. With that having now been proven accurate, the Seahawks finally get their hands on Smith, having tried to acquire him via trade in 2020.
The Cowboys waved off their attempt(s), however, instead opting to hold onto him until his contract expired in January. Ever patient and still in need of help with their pass rush, general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll circled back and met with Smith directly as an unrestricted free agent, the meeting ending in a handshake. The addition of Smith combines with the re-signing of Carlos Dunlap to make things a bit less stressful regarding the team's beleaguered pass rush heading into this year's NFL Draft, but it doesn't delete the need entirely.
Additionally, the timing of when Smith signs his deal in Seattle will also be something to watch, considering there's a specific league deadline looming just ahead. If the Seahawks officially ink Smith prior to the first week in May, he'll count against their compensatory pick formula for 2022, presuming the size of the deal qualifies financially. If they wait until after the draft to add him to the books, he won't, which also means the Cowboys won't benefit from the signing by gaining a comp pick of their very own. This is key to note for two front offices who haven't played nice in recent seasons -- e.g., Earl Thomas -- and that trend could continue here.
And, again, the deal would have to financially qualify for the comp pick formula, even if it's signed immediately. But while that organizational chess match plays out, the Seahawks ready themselves to welcome yet another pass rusher who'll join them shortly after having suited up for the Cowboys, the re-signing of Benson Mayowa and addition of Kerry Hyder being the others.
Smith joins Seattle having tallied 52.5 sacks in his tumultuous, but now revived, NFL career.