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News: Jaylon Smith heading to Las Vegas

LB was plucked off of Saints practice squad

Indianapolis Colts v New York Giants
Jaylon Smith
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Per his agent Doug Hendrickson and NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, veteran linebacker Jaylon Smith signed with the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday morning.

Smith had visited Las Vegas over the summer but ended up signing with the New Orleans Saints during training camp. He didn’t make the Saints’ final 53-man roster but was brought back on the team’s practice squad, where he spent the first eight weeks of the season and was never called up or got any playing time during the games.

To make room for Smith, the Raiders cut cornerback David Long. He was signed as a free agent in the offseason. He started in one game this season and had 12 tackles.

Meanwhile, the Raiders’ linebackers are very beat up. Starter Divine Deablo missed last week's game against the Lions with an ankle injury that he suffered the week before in Chicago. Deablo also missed Wednesday’s practice, per Las Vegas’ injury report, as well as fellow first-stringer Robert Spillane (hand) and backup Luke Masterson (concussion).

Also, Kana’i Mauga was recently placed on injured reserve, leaving rookie Amari Burney and special teams ace Curtis Bolton—who was just activated off of IR ahead of Monday’s game—as the only healthy backers on the Raiders’ roster.

That’s a big reason why Smith is joining the Silver and Black and the fact he played for Patrick Graham with the Giants back in 2021 doesn’t hurt either. Granted, it was just a four-game stretch where they worked together, but Smith did rack up 19 total tackles and played well enough for New York to bring him back the following year after that short stint. Coincidentally, he’ll get to face his old team this Sunday.

Originally a second-round pick in 2016, the Notre Dame product began his seven-year career with the Cowboys, spending about four and half years there before making stops with the Packers, Giants, Saints and now the Raiders. He’s racked up over 624 total tackles, 24 TFL and 11 sacks while making one Pro Bowl during his time in the NFL.

Smith will bring a veteran presence and some much-needed depth to Las Vegas’ linebacker corps.