The Cincinnati Bengals have made a rare trade. With an abundance of picks in the upcoming draft, Cincinnati has acquired former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Chris Smith. In exchange, the Jaguars will receive a conditional 2018 draft pick — the pick is likely contingent on Smith making Cincinnati’s final 53-man roster.
Per Jim Owczarski, the conditional pick is a seventh rounder, which is far from significant compensation.
After Jacksonville added Calais Campbell to an already talented defensive line, Smith figured to be the odd man out with the Jaguars, even if he managed to put together a solid training camp. Trading Smith to the Bengals gives the end a better shot to land on a 53-man roster, especially considering the lack of depth behind Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson in Cincinnati.
This is the Bengals’ first non-draft trade since April 2012, when Keith Rivers was sent to the Giants for a fifth round pick. That pick for the Bengals turned out to be safety George Iloka. This also isn’t the Bengals’ first trade with the Jaguars as Reggie Nelson came over from Jacksonville in September 2010 in exchange for cornerback David Jones and a conditional draft pick. That turned out to be an excellent trade for Cincinnati and we can only hope this acquisition turns out as favorably.
Smith, a 25-year-old defensive end, totaled one sack in six games last season. A former fifth-round pick out of Arkansas in the 2014 NFL Draft, Smith has compiled 4.5 sacks during his three-year NFL career. Three of those sacks came in the defensive end’s rookie season, while only 1.5 have been recorded in his two most recent seasons. Oftentimes a healthy inactive — he even had a stint on the team’s practice squad after passing through waivers like P.J. Dawson — Smith saw minimal playing time in Jacksonville, but maybe that will change now that he’s joining a Bengals team thin on defensive end talent.
Worth mentioning is that Smith stands at 6-foot-1; perhaps this is an indicator that Paul Guenther’s earlier statements in the offseason weren’t just coach speak and that the Bengals are, in fact, evaluating defensive ends of all different body types.
Smith figures to compete for snaps at end with Will Clarke, Wallace Gilberry, Ryan Brown and whomever else the Bengals manage to draft acquire between now and training camp. This acquisition likely won’t change much for Cincinnati aside from adding a bit of additional depth at defensive end, giving the team another body at the position before April’s draft. There’s still a strong chance the team looks at selecting two defensive ends, both potentially coming in the earlier rounds of the draft.
Chris Smith's 2014 sack reel, that dance is questionable: pic.twitter.com/WbdpWCUj2m— John Sheeran (@John__Sheeran) April 11, 2017