According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the buzz around the league is that the Green Bay Packers are interested in former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith, who, as Rapoport noted, was at Notre Dame during head coach Matt LaFleur’s time with the Fighting Irish. Unlike the Stephon Gilmore situation, the Packers wouldn’t have to trade a pick to add on a top-tier contract to their team, potentially making this deal an easier one to execute.
Inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell has made an impact during his first year with the team. His job would not be the one replaced by Smith. Instead, the signing of Smith would be a move to add talent next to and behind Campbell.
Krys Barnes is typically the starter next to Campbell but missed last week due to a concussion he sustained against the San Francisco 49ers the game prior. Barnes just returned to practicing fully today.
In Barnes’ absence, the team tended to play third-year linebacker Ty Summers on base run downs while fourth-year linebacker Oren Burks played on the edge, in pressure packages, and on passing downs. The only other inside linebacker on the roster is rookie Isaiah McDuffie, who at this point is a special teams player for the squad.
Adding Smith, a former All-American, second-round pick, and Pro Bowler, would be an interesting move for the team. A major injury at the college level has been a factor for his foot speed at the professional level, likely a reason why the Cowboys got out of his six-year, $68 million deal with the team.
Should he reunite with LaFleur, the questions that arise are “Does he have enough in the tank to start?” and “Which inside linebacker do you cut to open a roster spot for Smith?”
Update: Rapoport is now reporting that the team is “finalizing details” with Smith, though it won’t be official until tomorrow.