Smith will sign with the Packers, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reports.
The Packers have now picked up three defensive players at the top of the market, with Smith joining fellow outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith and safety Adrian Amos. While arguably the least impressive of the bunch last season, (Preston) Smith played all 64 games during his four years in Washington, averaging 41 tackles, 14.8 quarterback hits, 6.1 sacks, 1.0 interception and 1.0 forced fumble. With Smith and Smith coming off the edge while Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark push from the interior, Green Bay should field an impressive pass rush this upcoming season.
While the Redskins would love to keep Smith around, Washington has one of the worst cap-space outlooks around the league this offseason and won't realistically be able to retain him even on a one-year arrangement, which would likely pay the pass rusher north of $17 million. It's even more unlikely that Washington would be able to meet Smith's asking price if he were to become an unrestricted free agent, so expect the Redskins to instead look internally, through the draft or through the bargain bin via trade or the open market to replace the 26-year-old.
Smith was a 16-game starter at outside linebacker in the final season of his rookie contract, compiling 52 tackles (30 solo), four sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery on 834 defensive snaps.
The 2015 second-round pick still hasn't developed into a top-notch pass rusher, but he does have a respectable total of 24.5 sacks through four seasons and hasn't ever missed a game. The dependability should make it easy to secure a long-term contract from another team if Smith doesn't re-sign with Washington before he's eligible to hit the open market at the beginning of the new league year. For what it's worth, coach Jay Gruden said he would like to keep the 26-year-old outside linebacker in Washington, per JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington.
Smith had eight tackles (three solo) and 1.5 sacks in Thursday's loss to the Cowboys.
Smtih went without a sack through the first eight games of the season, and now has 3.5 sacks over the last three games. The eight tackles is a season high for the 26-year-old, who has also has one or zero tackles in four separate games, making him an unreliable IDP option.
Smith produced three tackles, one sack and one forced fumble during Sunday's victory over Tampa Bay.
Despite averaging over 50 defensive snaps per game, it took Smith nine contests to record his first sack this season after racking up 20.5 of them over the past three years. No matter, the 2015 second-rounder played a big role in this impressive showing against an explosive Buccaneers passing attack. If Smith finally gets going, this Redskins defense can reach even greater heights than they're at now (tied for fourth in scoring defense). There's a strong chance he indeed can keep the good times rolling against a below-average Texans offensive line in Week 11.
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