The San Francisco 49ers released Aldon Smith on Friday, and it did not take long for the first rumors to percolate about his future. A sports writer for Huffington Post tweeted that the New York Giants might be among the teams interested in the now former 49ers outside linebacker.
There is interest in Aldon Smith from several NFL teams, notably NY Giants. But what's really important is a life spiraling out of control.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) August 10, 2015
Giants in desperate need of a pass rusher, given JPP is out. Defense needs someone to really set the edge. Aldon Smith does precisely that.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) August 10, 2015
A Giants beat writer had this to say following those tweets:
Giants say they keep all their options open but personally I'd find it hard to believe they'd consider Smith right now ...— Patricia Traina (@Patricia_Traina) August 10, 2015
...given his off field issues. First priority is to get him on track. Besides they should be able to generate pass rush with Kennard at OLB.— Patricia Traina (@Patricia_Traina) August 10, 2015
Given the team's loss of Jason Pierre-Paul, it is not surprising that somebody would try and connect the Giants with Smith. JPP is rehabbing following his fireworks injury, and there is no word when he will re-join the team. In the meantime, the Giants need to figure out their pass rush situation.
Aldon Smith is technically free to sign with any team he wants. He was a vested veteran, as he had played at least six games in each of his first four seasons. That meant he was not subject to waivers, and thus immediately became a free agent. Nobody has signed Smith, and I would be surprised if anybody signed him anytime soon.
His legal situation is in significant limbo, as his arraignment is not until October 6. The question is whether or not the NFL will discipline him before then, or if they will wait out the legal process. If they do discipline him before the arraignment, he would likely be looking at a suspension of close to, if not more than a full season. His suspension would tick even as a free agent, but teams are unlikely to sign him before that suspension is concluded.
However, if the NFL waits until after some portion of the legal proceedings, that leaves Smith in limbo for the next couple months, if not longer. Maybe he goes to rehab, maybe he does something else. I don't really know, but it is a weird situation for now. A team could very well decide he is worth a flier in the short term. If it ended up being the Giants or anybody else who faces the 49ers this season, that would certainly make for an awkward situation. I don't think we see it happen, but crazy things happen in the NFL.