While much of the talk about the Dallas Cowboys this offseason has been about their offense, their defense got a potential huge boost on Wednesday, as the NFL conditionally reinstated defensive end Aldon Smith, multiple media outlets reported.
The 30-year-old was an instant star when he entered the NFL in 2011, registering 33.5 sacks in his first 32 games for the San Francisco 49ers and earning first-team All-Pro honors in 2012.
However, following a series of arrests and off-field issues, as well as multiple team and league suspensions, Smith was suspended for one year by the NFL in November 2015, and he has not played in the league since.
According to ESPN, Smith will be allowed to take part in meetings and the Cowboys' virtual offseason program beginning next week. ESPN also reported that Smith had a video call with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last Thursday.
San Francisco drafted Smith No. 7 overall out of Missouri in 2011. Shortly after his second season, Smith was arrested on suspicion of DUI, his first of two such arrests and the start of a series of legal and personal issues that limited Smith to 18 games over the next two seasons and ultimately saw the 49ers release him in August 2015 -- following another alcohol-related arrest.
The then-Oakland Raiders signed Smith to a one-year contract in September 2015, but nine games into that season, the league handed down its one-year ban.
In November 2018, Smith pleaded no contest to charges of false imprisonment and violating a court order after he originally faced misdemeanor charges of domestic violence, assault with force likely to produce bodily injury, false imprisonment and vandalism stemming from an alleged domestic-violence incident.
The Cowboys signed Smith to a one-year contract in April that could be worth up to a reported $4 million.
In all, Smith has 47.5 sacks and six forced fumbles in 59 career games (37 starts).
Dallas has had a busy offseason, signing wide receiver Amari Cooper to a five-year, $100 million deal, adding a free agent class headlined by kicker Greg Zuerlein, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and quarterback Andy Dalton, and drafting wide receiver CeeDee Lamb in the first round last month.
The team still continues to work on a long-term extension with quarterback Dak Prescott, however. The club placed the franchise tag on Prescott this offseason, meaning if nothing else he will make more than $31 million on a one-year deal in 2020.
--Field Level Media