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Packers Unexpectedly Release Linebacker D.J. Smith

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Packers Unexpectedly Release Linebacker D.J. Smith

In addition to the previously reported release of running back Brandon Saine, the Green Bay Packers made the surprise move of letting go linebacker D.J. Smith as well on Wednesday.

From Brian McIntyre of Yahoo Sports...

Smith made six starts in place of Desmond Bishop last season, but his season ended in October when he suffered a knee injury and was placed on injured reserve.

Entering just his third season in the NFL, it was perhaps surprising that the Packers didn't give Smith more time being that they're still five months away from the start of the 2013 season.

“I can only tell you what they told us, and that’s they needed to create some space for things they thought was coming,” Smith’s agent Lamont Smith was quoted as saying by Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

What exactly is meant by "create space" is open to interpretation. The Packers are one day from the start of the NFL Draft and considering Bishop is coming off a season-ending hamstring injury, Green Bay may have less depth than appears on paper. It could be that they're preparing to select an another linebacker at some point over the next three days.

Even if the Packers don't draft an inside linebacker, they'll still be filling out their 90-man offseason roster with undrafted free agents the minute round seven is over.

It's possible that Smith's knee injury is worse than appears, but in his brief starting stint last season, Smith did a solid yet unspectacular job by making 29 tackles and two sacks over the course of those six games.

The Packers made a commitment to three other inside linebackers this offseason by re-signing Brad Jones and Robert Francois as free agents and restructuring the contract of A.J. Hawk.


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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (45) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

PackersRS's picture


cow42's picture



jeremy's picture

Right, when you think about what the defense needs to do to get better it's not really a surprising move.

jmac3444's picture

definitely a surprising move considering he costs next to nothing

denniseckersly's picture

errrrr what?

Cole's picture

This will turn out to be a mistake. Smith is a player. Ogletree? Brown?

packsmack25's picture

I'll puke if it's Te'o.

2 share owner's picture

+1....Hopefully Minnesota takes him. Ted wouldn't dream of trading up for him, would he?

hayward4president's picture

I will puke twice.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Smack... Don't even joke about that. I'd flip the Fuck out man.

Mojo's picture

Agree on Te'o. If they pick him forget rounds 2 thru 7 - I'm moving on to the 2014 draft.

As far as Smith, he really did struggle in coverage and as someone mentioned he seemed to get worse the more he played. They certainly have a back-log at that position. It will be interesting to see what Manning has.

ted, of bill and ted's picture

i too, would puke. many, many times.

wiazcat's picture

I would rather be a lion, viking, or bear then the packets pick Teo. Oh I am going to be I'll. Please

GBPDAN's picture


pooch's picture

Teddy,your on a roll,now release Hawk,draft Klien from Kimberly

Mike's picture

Or trade Hawk for an extra pick or two...

hayward4president's picture

That was stupid dj made for an excellent backup lb.

Stroh's picture

No big deal. Smith was never going to amount to more than a backup and that's if he improved a lot. His coverage in limited time on the field was horrid. Even in his rookie season, he got an INT but that doesn't mean his coverage was good. I never thought he'd amount to anything. He was given a shot, and didn't cut it. That's about all that needs to be said.

Best part about it is Manning moves closer to a starting job! That's the guy we need to get on the field, he's got a chance to be a REAL playmaker. His measurable are excellent, he's excellent vs run, just needs to work on his coverage. Would love to see Bishop healthy moved to Hawks position and Manning starting.

If this opens a spot for Ogletree, I'm all for it! That might be a dream, but I'm holding it until tomorrow nite!

cow42's picture

i agree with all of this... except the ogleturd part.

Stroh's picture

Ogletree is a freaking playmaker. He has some issues taking on blockers, but he's only been a LB for a year or so. He can get a lot better in that regard, and he's got the long arms needed to get separation when he learns how. Its a simple matter of working on technique. Its not something you become proficient at overnite.

He'll be the best LB drafted this year w/in 2 years and an immediate starter and playmaker!

PackerBacker's picture

Why do you keep fighting with Cow over this? He's not going to change his mind and you aren't either. Agree to disagree. Neither of you actually know if he's going to be any good.

Jamie's picture

Like most, I really want DJ to become a great player for us, but it seemed, IMO, the more DJ played...the more it appeared he wasn't very good. I thought he was borderline awful/non-existent in his extended playing time last season.

Those clamoring for Hawk to be benched/traded/cut in favor of this guy might be surprised, but not me.

NashvillePacker's picture

I think Manning deserves consideration and the team has three legit starters if Bishop is healthy. The coaches seem to like Lattimore. This position is not a need.

Nononsense's picture

With 6 ILBs still on the roster it won't hurt us much considering he wasn't gonna be 100% for a while anyway.

I still hope Hawks days as a starter are over. Brad Jones will likely take his spot but my choice would be Robert Francois if we truly want to get stronger and more physical on defense.

KurtMc's picture

Take ILB only after we fix D Line. The LB's won't do any good, if your D line is getting pushed around.

+ 100 on the TE'o comment. Don't think for a moment his NFL life will be a living or virtual hell...

Ps the Peter King draft board is such BS. Who appointed him Draft Guru?

mani2packers's picture

A little surprised. I would be shocked if they drafted Teo. Need dline and safety bad. Would rather they use that pick on lacy instead of an ilb. Cant wait!!!!!!!

BeddarCheddar's picture

So much for this guy being the next Sam Mills, eh? Too bad, I liked what I had been hearing about him last year and was hoping he would bounce back.

cheesewhizzer's picture

Te'o = Hawk2

rymetyme's picture

Too early to cut James Starks?

dawg's picture

Teo= Brian Boswell

Please stay away from that TT

mani2packers's picture

Starks is as good as gone with another injury riddled season. I was really hope to get ivory from saints. Love that back.

Fi cr's picture

Eddie lee.

mani2packers's picture

Starks is as good as gone with another injury riddled season. I was really hope to get ivory from saints. Love that back. Hes played too well in short spurts to be let go, minus his blocking and forgetting his assignments of course.

hump's picture

inside info says trade down is imminent,no 1st but 4 picks in rounds 2 and 3,albeight the extra 2 and 3 will be mid late 2nd and 3rds smart move considering 25 to 90 are all 2nd round worthy, this source works for the pack and has seldom been off target. he says ted loves eifert,but expects him gone and loves ertz but will take a mid late 2nd and third instead of ertz in the 1st,and part of the ertz deal is.... ted has a burr up his ass for the niners and would take him as a double hit on the 49ers, 1)we get tougher in the middle of the field with ertz and finley and 2)the 49ers lose thier 2 te sets for 2013. laugh if you want but my guy hears this stuff at packer headquarters daily and it kinda makes sense

Stroh's picture

I call complete and utter BS!

cow42's picture

while i'm pretty sure you're making all of this up... i hope every bit of it is true.

LDickey's picture

I think you guys are overthinking this and it has nothing to do with the draft. You don't cut a player because of who you think you might get in a draft.

They have a lot of money now tied up with Hawk, Jones, and Bishop. Smith's knee doesn't make him a better option then Lattimore/Francois. Ted is simply churning the bottom of the roster. Smith injury caused him sink down the depth chart. He was the 6th best option at ILB on the roster. Sure, they could of kept him on the roster for another few months for insurance purposes knowing he had almost no chance of making that roster but that really isn't the Ted Thompson way. TT consistently cuts players early for the player's benefit even if there is some marginal benefit to them keeping that player on the roster.

Lou's picture

Time will tell but it looks like Bob McGinn's "soft talk" is hitting home with Ted and Mike. It could very well be the case that his "size" was the key to his release (because he could play) and like the acquisition of Mulligan they want more bulk and a little less athletic ability after getting thrown around by the top teams.

Drealyn Williams's picture

With this move,Lattimore,Francois and Manning BETTER and I meeeeeeean BETTER get some damn chances to showcase their talent which should lead to more playing time! If the question,"which LB will be cut/released next season?" was asked last season -- 10/10 people would have guessed AJ Hawk.

DraftHobbyist's picture

I have no problem with cutting Smith and Saine. They were both backups that tore ACL's. The failed physical isn't a big deal because it was expected speaking when Smith tore his ACL, but the Packers are really making steps to clear off injured guys. There is a ton of depth at ILB anyways with Bishop, Hawk, Manning, Jones, and Lattimore. That's a solid group.

KennyPayne's picture

As long as their is always a roster spot for AJ Hawk who cares who else is on the roster at ILB.

Looking forward to another season of crunching hits, big time stops, blanket coverage, and critical turnovers created by our $50,000,000 man.

Anyone who contends Hawk epitomizes our slow, soft and too often ineffective D obviously has not been paying attention.

redlights's picture

If it isn't Hawk, then who is it?

Not following your sarcasm or ?

redlights's picture

Other than being nice by an early release; if GB cuts these guys on Monday, it would be an additional question mark of GB's draft plans. Why not Monday?

DHoward's picture

Because the players who didn't participate in voluntary mini-camps had their physicals this week. Just a guess...

But, you don't cut a guy because you think you might be able to draft a certain player.

Irish_Cheesehead's picture

Strange this happens right before the draft.

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