Smith was released by the Raiders on Thursday, Field Yates of ESPN reports.
Though now over 31 years old, Smith was still considered one of the better blocking tight ends in the league and his release only clears about $2.6 million in cap space. Regardless of the motive for his dismissal, there's now more of an opportunity for Luke Willson, Darren Waller and fourth-round rookie Foster Moreau to see expanded roles in 2019. Meanwhile, Smith should have no problem landing a new contract in advance of training camp. The Patriots, Texans, Rams and Jaguars all seem like good fits.
Smith caught 10 of 11 targets for 73 yards and three touchdowns in 2018.
Smith entered the season with only four career touchdowns but had three straight games with a score late in 2018. The veteran tight end has yet to reach 100 receiving yards in a single season as he enters the second year of his contract in Oakland.
Smith entered the Monday night matchup with touchdowns in the three straight contests, but that production was never likely to be sustained after it came on only three total targets. When the Raiders' lone goal-line opportunity arising early in the fourth quarter, the team declined to look Smith's way and instead handed the ball off to Jalen Richard, who jaunted three yards into the end zone to extend the Oakland lead to 16 points. Expect Smith to function mostly as a blocker in Oakland's season finale against the Chiefs this weekend.
Smith (back) won't carry an injury designation into Sunday's game versus the Bengals, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com reports.
Smith was a limited participant in the final two practices this week but the issues won't affect his game status. The eighth-year pro works mainly in a run-blocking role as Jared Cook takes over as the pass catcher.
Smith was limited during Thursday's practice due to a back injury.
Smith was a new addition to the Raiders' injury report Thursday after practicing in full Wednesday, though his back issue doesn't appear to be too severe. If he's unable to go Sunday against the Bengals, however, Derek Carrier could see additional reps behind starting tight end Jared Cook.