The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hosting linebacker Daryl Smith for a visit, according to Adam Schefter. The 34-year-old veteran played four years under Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith when he was with the Jacksonville Jaguars. They drafted him in the second round of the 2004 NFL draft.
Daryl Smith had a long and very productive career with the Jaguars, playing there for nine years before moving to the Baltimore Ravens in 2015, where he's started very game over the past three years. Smith has a ridiculous 172 career NFL starts, and has to be one of the best linebackers in the history of the NFL to never make a Pro Bowl. Pro Football Focus wasn't particularly impressed with his play last year, giving him a 46.9/100 grade. The Ravens cut Smith earlier this month, which saved them just over $2.5 million in salary cap space.
At 34, the question is how much Smith has left, and what kind of role he'd be willing to take on. The Bucs aren't going to bench Lavonte David, and Kwon Alexander was impressive as a starting middle linebacker in his rookie season. Smith's most likely fit is as a part-time, strongside backer, coming off the field on passing downs -- in large part because age has slowed him down, slowly turning him into a liability in coverage. That would be a step down from the close to full-time role he's had in recent years, and would also likely mean a significant pay cut.\
Smith does fit the Bucs' recent preference for veterans on defense. They signed Brent Grimes and Robert Ayers last week, both on the wrong side of 30 as well. It seems they're banking on getting some production out of formerly elite players. Whether that works or backfires remains to be seen.