Jacquies Smith has signed his restricted free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which effectively means that he’ll play for the Bucs this year.
The defensive end saw some interest from the San Francisco 49ers in restricted free agent, but did not sign an offer sheet before the deadline passed. That effectively meant Smith would be forced to sign with the Bucs, unless he decided to hold out to force a trade, or get a better contract.
It seems Smith has declined to do that, though, and will now play for the Bucs for just under $1.8 million this season.
Smith missed all but a couple of snaps of last season with an ACL injury. Before that he was expected to be the team’s most important pass-rusher, having steadily improved in each of his previous three seasons and having put up 7 sacks in 2015.
Whether Smith will be a key part of the Bucs’ pass-rush this year remains to be seen. There’ll be room for him to earn a number of snaps, but he may have to take a back seat to Noah Spence and Robert Ayers. Add in the fact that he’s recovering from and ACL injury and he was still a developing player even before that, and a little skepticism is warranted.
Still, it’s good to have him in the fold definitively. The Bucs can always do with more pass rushers.