Free agent cornerback Sean Smith has signed with the Oakland Raiders, according to Rand Getlin from the NFL Network. In keeping with the theme of cornerbacks getting PAID in free agency, his deal with the Raiders is worth $40 million over four years, with $20 million guaranteed.
Smith, a second-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2009, had been with the Kansas City Chiefs since 2013. In Kansas City, he was a reliable cornerback for them over the years, who never got much recognition while doing it.
When the Chiefs used their franchise tag on safety Eric Berry, and both the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams used the franchise tag on top cornerbacks Josh Norman and Trumaine Johnson, Smith jumped to the top of the pile when it came to pending free agent defensive backs.
This past season, Smith compiled 45 tackles and a pair of interceptions while playing in 13 games for the Chiefs. He also had 12 passes defensed. Smith has been a great deal for the Chiefs over the years as he signed a three-year, $16.5 million deal with them after the cornerback market bottomed out in 2013. He's been underpaid and many felt he would get a huge deal if he hit the open market again.
Smith is likely at his peak at this point in his career, and will be 29 years old when the 2016 season gets underway. He's nearing that important age-30 season, but for now he just signed a big deal and is looking to contribute at the same high level he did last season.
The addition of Smith gives the Raiders some much needed help in their secondary and a true No. 1 cornerback. It was arguably their top need heading into the offseason. D.J. Hayden, a first-round pick in 2013, has been a disappointment. David Amerson, a mid-season pickup, was arguably their best corner last season. Future Hall of Fame safety Charles Woodson retired, adding to the holes in the secondary. There's still some work to be done in Oakland, but Smith is a good get for the Raiders.
The Raiders jumped from 3-13 in 2014 to 7-9 last year. Given how this offseason has proceeded so far, it's not a stretch to think that they could top .500 for the first time since 2002 this season.