Due to their linebacker corps being decimated by injuries, the Dallas Cowboys announced they have signed former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith for depth.
The Dallas Cowboys highly-touted linebacker corps has started to look like extras for the television series The Walking Dead as of late. Several of their linebackers are dealing with injuries. And with an opportunity to clinch the division on the line this Sunday, Dallas decided to add some Super Bowl-level depth at the position.
Linebackers Sean Lee, Leighton Vander Esch, Joe Thomas, and rookie Luke Gifford are all struggling with injuries. Gifford was placed on Injured Reserve on Tuesday and is expected to have surgery to repair his fractured forearm.
Vander Esch has missed the last four games due to a neck injury. And it appears the second-year star could be out for the rest of the season.
A two-time Pro Bowler, Lee has played well in Vander Esch’s place, recording four tackles, a sack, and an interception in the Cowboys’ blowout win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. But the 33-year old linebacker was also questionable for the matchup with both pectoral and thigh injuries.
Unfortunately, Thomas suffered a knee injury during the matchup with the Rams. But head coach Jason Garrett doesn’t believe the injury is serious and there’s hope he’ll be able to play the Eagles in Philly.
But with Gifford going to IR, the Cowboys did have an open roster spot to help them add some depth at the position. So they found themselves a former Super Bowl MVP on the open market and decided to sign him.
On Tuesday, the Cowboys announced the signing of 30-year old linebacker Malcolm Smith. A seventh-round selection out of USC, Smith would climb the NFL ranks to become the MVP of Super Bowl XLVIII a mere two years later.
As a member of the Seattle Seahawks from 2011 to 2014, Smith was on the same defense that was partially led by Kris Richard, who is now the Cowboys’ defensive play-caller. Richard was the Seahawks cornerback and defensive backs coach during this period. He’d take over as Seattle’s defensive coordinator in 2015.
The undersized Smith (6-0, 225 lbs) started in only 16 games during his four-year stint in Seattle. But in the Super Bowl, he recorded a stat-line of 10 total tackles, one pass defend, one fumble recovery, and a pick-six against quarterback Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
Smith would go on to play for the Oakland Raiders for two seasons, starting in 30 games, and recording triple-digit tackle totals each year. But a torn pectoral robbed him of the entire 2017 season. Over the last two years, Smith has had stints with the San Francisco 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars, but injuries have taken their toll.
In Dallas, Malcolm Smith will hope to rekindle the magic that once made him the best player on the field during a Super Bowl. Smith will join former Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett as well as defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator Kris Richard as the Dallas Cowboys attempt to secure the NFC East crown against the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday.