This one came out of left field. The Green Bay Packers waived linebacker D.J. Smith, an opening-day starter in 2012, on Wednesday.
Not only was Smith a starter at inside linebacker at the start of 2012, he was only member of the Packers 2011 draft class to start any games as a rookie. He started three that season and had 43 tackles.
In 2012, Smith started the first six games before suffering a torn ACL. He had 39 tackles, two sacks and knocked down four passes before getting hurt.
Now, after just two seasons, he’s on the street.
The Packers have plenty of inside linebackers. Desmond Bishop will return to his starting role after missing all of last season with hamstring injury. They re-signed Brad Jones, who took Smith’s starting spot after the injury, in the offseason. They also re-signed Robert Francois and decided to keep A.J. Hawk after he took a pay cut. There’s also Terrell Manning, who was drafted in fifth round last season.
Bishop is the clear-cut No. 1 in that group, but can anyone really tell me Jones is clearly better than Smith? Smith has definitely performed better than Hawk, Francois and Manning up to this point.
The only thing Smith had going against him is he wasn’t going to be ready for the start of the regular season, but why not stash him on the physically unable to perform list for the first six weeks?