Pro Football Talk is reporting the Lions have come to an agreement with former Buccaners, Saints and Vikings safety Dwight Smith. He won’t come cheap…
Per the source, Smith gets a $350,000 signing bonus, a $300,000 training-camp reporting bonus in 2008, and a 2008 base salary of $1.35 million. Next year, Smith is due to receive a $500,000 roster bonus, a $250,000 reporting bonus, and a base salary of $2.25 million.
What this signing does is add another player who played under Rod Marinelli and Joe Barry with the Bucs. The Detroit Lions continue to morph into the North Tampa Lions.
Smith has been a decent player on the field, but a headcase off of it. Here’s his transgressions as a Viking, courtesy of the Minnapolis Star Tribune.
The two games he did not start came because he was benched by coach Brad Childress, once for being late to a meeting, another time for an argument with the coach in practice.
Smith, 29, also had two highly publicized citations in downtown Minneapolis. He was charged with indecent conduct on Aug. 26, 2006, after police found him in a Block E stairwell engaged in sex with a woman. He was benched for the 2006 season opener at Washington, and later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.
Last month, Smith pleaded guilty to obstructing traffic, a petty misdemeanor, and had charges of marijuana possession against him dismissed last month stemming from an incident on Dec. 13.
Pretty impressive rap sheet when you consider he was only a Viking for 2 seasons…
When you are the Lions, beggars can’t be choosers. They are in dire straits defensively. Thus the Lions have to take chances on free agents who have issues, be it with their personality — such as Smith, age — if you go by their interest in ANOTHER former Buc, Brian Kelly, or injury — as shown by the rumor of their being in the lead for the services of the Jets’ Johnathan Vilma.
Smith would be the 4th, count ‘em, 4th, safety the Lions have either signed as a big money free agent, or taken early in the draft, in 4 years. Kenoy Kennedy was signed to a big free agent contract in 2005. In 2006, Daniel Bullocks was drafted in the 2nd round. Last year, Gerald Alexander was drafted…In the 2nd round. Now add Dwight Smith to the list. The Lions will then have 4 safeties under contract, but no cornerbacks! We still have no idea how their incompetent boob of a GM, Matt Millen, plans on solving that little problem.
This signing also begs a couple of questions. Is Kennedy, who has not performed up to his quite large contract, going to be cut? For that matter, the Lions may feel Bullocks is a question mark as well. Is he unable to return from a knee injury after being on injured reserve for all of 2007?
No matter who plays free and strong safety, that’s an awful lot of cap space taken by one defensive position. But then again, we’re talking Lions, where overloading salary at one position //cough// wide receiver //cough// is standard operating procedure.