Sean Smith became an expendable piece of the Kansas City Chiefs secondary following the emergence of reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Marcus Peters, and the veteran cornerback packed his bags on Thursday after reportedly agreeing to a contract with the Oakland Raiders.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport first reported the news, "Smith agreed to a [four-year] deal worth [$40 million], [a] source said, with [$20 million] guaranteed."
The Raiders shared a picture of Smith signing his new deal:
In February, the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs reported Smith was seeking a deal that would pay out somewhere between $8 million and $10 million annually.
A seven-year pro, Smith has been among the league's most durable defenders since making his debut in 2009. As Biggs pointed out, Smith has missed a grand total of four games—with three coming as the result of a suspension at the start of last season.
In 13 appearances last season, Smith notched 45 total tackles and two interceptions, and the Chiefs finished ninth in opponents' passing yards per game (231.1). Smith also defended 12 passes—marking the fourth straight season in which he posted a double-digit tally.
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And while he's never been one to rack up huge interception totals, Smith offered a good reason for his fairly mundane tallies, per the Kansas City Star's Terez A. Paylor:
I’m not a guy who is going to play off and get hella picks, (but) you just can’t throw it over there (at me). You have to look somewhere else, you know what I mean? That formula seemed to work out pretty good for us, because if I don’t allow the ball to be thrown over there, and they keep throwing over there (at Marcus) and he keeps getting picks, it makes us better as a secondary.
Smith had long been connected to the Raiders for several reasons. Not only is Oakland flush with cap space, but Smith fits the mold of cornerbacks the franchise has generally targeted.
As Bleacher Report's Jason Cole noted, the Raiders "have a history of liking bigger, longer corners," with Smith seemingly fitting the bill at 6'3''. NFL.com's Chris Trapasso was quick to weigh in on the reported deal:
Structure is always the most vital, but the #Raiders (potentially) getting Sean Smith cheaper than Janoris Jenkins is a nice win for Oakland— Chris Trapasso (@ChrisTrapasso) March 10, 2016
Smith also fills a huge need for the Raiders, who were among the league's most vulnerable teams on the back end last season.
Working with D.J. Hayden and David Amerson as their primary corners, the Raiders were roasted to the tune of 258.8 passing yards allowed per game—the 26th-ranked mark in the NFL last season.
Smith may not have been the most compelling name on the market now that he's heading into his eighth season, but his ability to blanket the boundary shouldn't be overlooked.