Jags bring back veteran OLB/DE Dawuane Smoot
After striking a deal with tight end Evan Engram last week, the Jacksonville Jaguars were able to sign another player whose contract expired at the end of last season. That player was veteran outside linebacker and defensive end Dawuane Smoot, who signed a one-year deal with the team on Friday.
Smoot's deal is one that could max out at $6.25 million and guarantees $2.25 million. According to Jaguars radio analyst Mia O'Brien, the team had been in contact with Smoot this offseason, but the two sides reached a stalemate. The veteran also had a visit lined up with the Baltimore Ravens, but the Jags seemingly didn't want to take a chance on losing him and got a deal done.
The signing comes after Smoot ended the 2022 season on injured reserve as he tore his Achilles in Week 16 against the New York Jets. However, after months of monitoring his rehab, the Jags decided to run it back with the veteran, who they drafted in 2017.
Smoot, 28, brings plenty of experience to the table for a young Jags team, as he's played in 87 games and has started in 17 for them. Smoot will enter the 2023 season with 123 tackles, 22.5 sacks, and four forced fumbles. Last year he finished the season second on the team in sacks with five, which was only below Josh Allen's total of seven.
The Jags' decision to bring Smoot back doesn't come as a surprise when considering the Jags lost a key member up front in Arden Key, who signed with the Tennessee Titans this offseason. Alongside Key, Smoot was arguably the Jags' most effective pass-rusher off the edge in 2022 and accumulated a 73.4 pass-rush grade, according to Pro Football Focus. That said, losing both would've put the Jags in a questionable situation heading into this season as their pass rush needs to improve.
The Jags will likely take it slow with Smoot during training camp to avoid any setbacks. However, when he does return, he'll undoubtedly have a big role in the defense due to his experience.