Are The Raiders Being More Cautious With Aldon Smith This Time Around?

The Raiders are taking the cautious route with Aldon Smith this time around. Although Smith is free to sign with any team, both Reggie McKenzie and Jack Del Rio have indicated that, for now, they want to allow Smith to focus on his personal life.

“We’ve talked about it and thought about it and we’ll continue,” Del Rio told reporters asking about Smith on Tuesday morning. “He’s got work to do on his personal life. And it might make sense at some point, as long as he’s taking care of the things he needs to take care of, that he can return.”

McKenzie offered similar sentiment regarding Smith returning to the Raiders. “The conversations have been good,” Reggie told on Monday. “Really, it’s encouraging him as a person to continue to get his life right. And if you’re going to commit to this thing, you have to go through some steps. And that’s what he’s going through right now.”

While McKenzie, Del Rio, and Smith appear to be handling the situation as well as can be expected, it’s fair to wonder why the additional emphasis on his personal life now? Wasn’t Smith even less removed from the events that led to his suspension in September when the Raiders signed him to a one-year contract worth up to $8 million?

The details to Smith’s recovery aren’t public and they shouldn’t be unless he wants them to be. So without all the details it’s perhaps unfair to speculate. But assuming Smith’s recovery continues to be on the right track, it’s possible that this time around, the Raiders are being more cautious because they’re considering a commitment that would tie them to Smith for more than just a year.

It was McKenzie, after all, who said in November that Smith remained “prominently in [the Raiders] long-terms plans” even after his year-long suspension. Does the tune change with the addition of Bruce Irvin? McKenzie and Del Rio are both on record this week saying that isn’t the case.

Of course, there’s also Smith’s angle on a new deal. Assuming he experiences no setbacks, his value should be far greater in November when the league will review his reinstatement.

For now, we wait. Smith will presumably bet on himself for the next 6-8 months and if he continues to make progress in his personal life, an NFL team will gladly bet on him from there.

Twitter: @raidersbeat


3 thoughts on “Are The Raiders Being More Cautious With Aldon Smith This Time Around?

  1. Wasn’t an issue last year because it was a one year deal if you’re looking for a long-term commitment they want to ensure their investment is his best personally for the long term. Really no surprise. Can’t wait to have him back!

  2. Aldon seemed like a different man during his two month stint last season. There were no off field issues and his teammates spoke highly of him. Most importantly was the reason he selected the Raiders as his new team. He stated that he wanted remain close to the support system that was helping him stay clean and sober. It is that type of decision making that lends hope to the idea of him getting his life in order. The Raiders will be a good long term option for him if he truly wants a better future.

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