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Free agent Aldon Smith could be a big boost to Bengals’ pass rush

The Bengals need a pass-rush specialist to pair with pricey new addition Trey Hendrickson. They could find that in the controversial Smith.

San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Aldon Smith has an extremely troubled past.

Aldon Smith is an extremely talented pass rusher.

It’s the classic dilemma for NFL teams: how do you balance feigning morality with putting the best product on the field? Do you take the low-risk financial investment even if it’s a high-risk PR investment?

When these kinds of moves work out, meaning, the player thrives and the team takes a step forward, everyone seems to forget about his past. When they don’t, the GM just ends up looking desperate.

Smith poses a big challenge for teams. He missed four complete seasons due to a hit-and-run and a domestic violence charge. He also missed 9 games in 2014 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse and personal conduct policies, leading to his release from the 49ers.

The good news for the Bengals is, they don’t have a GM who has to worry about job security. They also love good deals. Bringing in a guy like Smith used to be the classic Bengals move. Now? I’m not so sure. The team seems to be focused on good PR and keeping guys like Giovani Bernard around for their glowing smiles.

Let’s be clear. Smith is good. He had 19.5 sacks in just his second year with the San Francisco 49ers, way back in 2012. The next time he played more than 11 games would be 2020, due to legal issues. Last year, for the Dallas Cowboys, he had just 5 sacks but 50 total pressures and 35 hurries, according to Pro Football Focus.

One guy who wants Smith - and his 52.5 sacks in only 75 career games - on the team is the Zim, who joined me and John Sheeran to talk about players still out there who can improve the team’s pass rush.

You can watch below:

You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below:

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