Nov 24, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith (94) celebrates a sack against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
At 32 years old, Antonio Smith has nine years of NFL experience, the past five with the Houston Texans. With next season being year No. 10 and being an unrestricted free agent, my question is will Smith return to the Texans next season?
Smith was originally drafted by the Arizona Cardinals, where he played from 2005-08.
Since joining the Texans in ’09, Smith, also known as “The Ninja Assassin” has been a reliable player, missing just one game last season as he played in 16 or more games from ’06-12 with the Cardinals and Texans.
This past season, Smith totaled 30 tackles (22 solo) and five sacks. He forced a fumble and knocked down one pass.
His numbers of ’13 are on par with those during his entire career with the Texans, with seasons of 34, 38, 25, 30 and 30 combined tackles the past five seasons. His sack numbers are about the same as well (4.5, 4.0, 6.5, 7.0, 5.0) the past five years.
But nine seasons in a grueling position like defensive end can take a toll on a player, and I’m assuming Smith is no different.
I wouldn’t sign Smith to a long term deal … nothing longer than a one-year deal, maybe two if the price is right.
He never had more than four combined tackles this past season and had four games of one combined tackle. Two games in ’13, he recorded no tackles.
I’m not saying he’s finished, but the Texans could use the No. 1 overall pick to sign his replacement in Jadeveon Clowney and have a very dangerous duo at defensive end with J.J. Watt on the opposite side.
Some view Smith as a “bust” or “overpaid” with the Texans, as he made $5.6 million last season with a cap hit of $9.1 million. His total signing bonus for that deal was $12.5 million.
There is no way he’ll get that type of contract again with the Texans.
I don’t know if Smith will be back, as CSN Houston wrote:
"“The Texans won’t be willing to spend a lot of money on him … Smith will find some decent money somewhere, but the Ninja stays in Houston. He said he won’t take that personality with him.”"
Do you, as fans of the Texans, want Smith back?