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Ryan's Reaction: Aldon Smith... Oakland Raider?

Updated on September 11, 2015

Wait... What?

Nope. I checked the googles again, it's not a hoax.
Aldon Smith is an Oakland Raider.
As a fan of the Raiders, I've gotta say...
I'm conflicted.

On one hand, it's easy to get excited.
I mean, let's be honest, Aldon Smith is a great football player.
He's got everything you want in a premiere pass rusher in the NFL.
He's big, strong, and lean, and on film, there's a lot to love.
Smith is explosive off the line, and with a freakish 84 inch wingspan, he just throws linemen around on the way to the quarterback.
In San Francisco, he enjoyed plenty of statistical success, racking up 44 sacks in just 50 games.
For perspective on just how impressive that is, rightful MVP and all-around badass, JJ Watt has racked up 57 sacks in 64 games.
If you add Smith to a Raiders defense that already features what some have called the "biggest defensive line in the league" with future hall of fame defensive end, Justin Tuck, and pre-season All-pro Khalil Mack...
It's hard not to get excited about what he could bring to the Raiders on the field.

That's not what worries me.
In fact, it's just the opposite.
It's what he does off the field.
Since coming into the league in 2011, Smith has been arrested five times.
And never for the easy stuff.
He's been busted for three DUI's, one case of possession of illegal firearms, and then...
There was that one time he pulled a fake bomb-threat at an airport.
Not joking.
That really happened.
Thanks to these off the field shenanigans, Smith has missed 17 of the last 36 games.

The most recent of these charges was referred to as a "DUI Hit and Run".
Which oh my god.
Does that sound absolutely terrible or what?
Drinking and driving is a universal no-no.
Absolutely nobody is trying to legalize drinking and driving.
Driving drunk and hitting something, or someone?!
Apparently the 49ers agreed, because that last set of charges was enough to get him released from the team back in August.
At which point, I insisted that my Raiders would go NOWHERE NEAR someone with off the field issues like Smith...

@Me- Whoops.
@Me- Whoops. | Source

Look at that idiot.

To be fair...
I had reason to believe the Raiders were done with players like Aldon Smith.
See, if you ask a lame-o casual football fan who the criminal element of the NFL is, they'd probably say the Raiders.
And I understand why.
When Al Davis was the GM, it almost felt like he preferred players with off the field issues.
But Reggie McKenzie and Al's son, Mark have repeatedly come out and said they prefer upstanding members of society.
And it shows!
Despite having 9 arrests between 2009 and 2013, the Raiders have really kept their noses clean.
Zero arrests by players on the 53 man roster, and they've avoided troubled players in the draft and free agency.
Talented yet troubled players like Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory, and La'el Collins have been passed up by the Raiders because they just didn't want that kind of negative energy in the locker room.

Which is why I'm a little baffled by this pickup.
Business-wise, it only makes sense.
You get a young, extremely talented player with something to prove FOR NOTHING along side another young, extremely talented player in Mack, with the watchful locker room leadership of veterans like Justin Tuck and Charles Woodson?
Take it to the bank. Done deal.
If he gets in trouble again, it doesn't really hurt the Raiders.
They've still got plenty of cap space, and the contract is only for one year. Like Darren McFadden or Trent Richardson, if he can't cut the mustard, wipe your hands of him, home free!
But if he plays well? The Raiders suddenly have a really impressive front seven.
That part all makes sense.

I'm just curious as to what made Reggie McKenzie and Mark Davis change their minds.
And more importantly, what made them take this risk?
After all, the punishment is still coming down from local law enforcement and the league.
For all we know, Aldon Smith will be suspended for the season, and he'll never wear the Silver and Black in a regular season game.

However, I don't think that will be the case.
Despite Smith's history, the actual story of the DUI hit and run isn't as bad as it sounds.
Hold your horses, anything that starts with DUI is bad, and the person responsible should be made an example of.
Not disputing that.
I'm just saying that as the details leak...
It sounds like Smith scraped a car while he trying to park, scraped it again, opening his door, and then left.
The owner of the car came back and reported the accident, something Smith didn't do.
Smith later returned on foot, appearing to be under the influence, and he contacted the police, who then arrested him for being under the influence.
The damage done was less than 400 dollars, he was not arrested while in the vehicle, nor was it evident that he was ever driving said vehicle drunk, and while he did hit and run, he also ran and returned.
A stupid situation for someone like Smith to put himself in, for sure, but...

Do you really suspend a guy for something like that?
That sounds like something you fine him for, he pays the guy to get his car repaired, and maybe there's some community service.
I'm not a legal expert (I just play one on TV), but I can't see Smith having a very serious suspension unless Roger Goodell really wants to bring the hammer down.
Let's be honest...

Rog! It was just a joke!

In all seriousness.

Everyone wins.
Aldon Smith gets to stay in the Bay, with his therapist and the rest of his support system, while joining a talented locker room with plenty of veteran leadership.
The Raiders get a young, talented player to compliment the other young, talented players for little to no financial risk.
And honestly, it's only a one year deal, so if Aldon Smith gets his life together, the 49ers could make a push to bring him back next off-season.
Everyone wins here.
Well... Except for maybe AFC West Quarterbacks...

Was this a good signing for Oakland?

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    • profile image

      Bob 2 years ago

      Hasn't really worked out well for ya so far, has he?

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 2 years ago from Auburn, WA

      Mixed feelings. He is trouble. While he was charged, no conviction yet, so why not take a shot w/him? Short term, I don't see a risk. Not going to make a moral judgement on him right now. What's better for him and society? Having him stir at home or working hard on the football field? Obviously he does not do well with idle time.