Packers sign LB Jaylon Smith

The linside linebacker has played in every game the last four years.

From NFL Network:

Smith is a an inside linebacker and has a connection to Packers head coach Matt LaFleur from their time at Notre Dame.

The signing shouldn’t cost the Packers much as his salary is guaranteed and will be paid by the Cowboys. 

Smith has played in every game the last four years. The Cowboys signed him to a five-year, $64 million extension before the 2019 season and saw him total 142 tackles, 2½ sacks and an interception. 

5 points

Comments (67)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Savage57's picture

October 07, 2021 at 07:42 am

I know nothing about this guy, but let me be the first to applaud this signing.

I know nothing about this guy, but let me be the first to criticize this signing.

And, my work here is done.

12 points
17
5
Razer's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:29 am

I second that - LOL

5 points
5
0
Todd's picture

October 07, 2021 at 07:54 am

A good signing IMO, particularly since Dallas is paying most of his salary. He hasn't been as good the last two years as at the start of his career, but maybe a change of scenery and defensive scheme will help.

9 points
9
0
Guam's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:13 am

Kudos to Gute for going all in on this season and doing everything he can to bring another Super Bowl to Green Bay. While Jaylon Smith may not still be in his prime, I suspect he will be an upgrade over Barnes and will certainly provide much better depth that Summers or Burks. The Packer's ILB crew has been inferior for so long and the combo of Campbell and J. Smith might bring a very welcome change to our defense.

And don't bust Gute's chops over Gilmore. The Packers could not have fit Gilmore's salary under their limited cap space if they traded for him.

13 points
14
1
gkarl's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:22 am

Thought i read NE was trying to accommodate Gilmore's preference. Maybe he chose Carolina and not the GBP, close to home for him. Gute might not have had a choice in the matter.

-1 points
3
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Guam's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:35 am

Gilmore supposedly wanted to come to GB, but the Pack couldn't trade for him as they could not fit his existing contract under their salary cap. NE would have had to release him so the Packers could restructure his contract when signing him. NE preferred to pick up the draft choice from Carolina.

4 points
5
1
Tundraboy's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:04 am

Isn’t he 26 years old? Sounds like his prime is now.

4 points
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dobber's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:20 am

Yup. He's likely not the 4.44 athlete (post injury) that he was in college, but I'd argue he's better than anything they have in the ILB room right now, including Campbell.

2 points
4
2
Bearmeat's picture

October 07, 2021 at 11:16 am

I disagree with that. Smith looked like Blake Martinez last year. I mean, there's value for that on a cheap contract for sure. It's a good signing. Worth a look. But I do not want him playing Campbell's snaps.

1 points
2
1
LambeauPlain's picture

October 07, 2021 at 11:48 am

He will be playing Burks and Summers snaps. If he plays like Martinez...that is a huge upgrade over Burks and Summers.

Martinez played very well for the Giants last year. Tore his ACL last month. I was sad to see Blake go.

Smith signed a huge K in 2019 but like Martin, he was a casualty of a new DC. Quinn didn't like Smith for his Defense just a Barry didn't see Martin fitting his scheme. Jerry Jones will pay Smith $millions to play for the Packers this year.. Thanks Jerry!

Since his college ACL, Smith has been very productive and available. Smith and Campbell can form one of the best Packer ILB tandems since...when? Since they moved to a 3-4?

Smith is coming to GB with a chip on his shoulder. And from all accounts I have read, Smith is a leader and solid teammate and was a team captain in Dallas.

Good job Gute!

Gilmore would have been a good hire too, but the Pats agreed to trade him so he could take his large K to a new team. Once Gute knew that it was over. No cap to accommodate Gilmore.

9 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 07:43 pm

What are the Vegas odds on who gets the boot first, Burks or Summers? Neither guy exhibits the traits that define a Pro LB.

0 points
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dobber's picture

October 07, 2021 at 12:27 pm

Campbell looks good to us because ILB has been so lacking in recent years. Let's not make him out to be Devin White or Bobby Wagner: he's not. Smith isn't either, but I think he's better than Campbell.

Given that Barry has given that second ILB more snaps--and that 3rd S fewer--than we'd seen from Pettine and even Capers makes this upgrade pretty meaningful.

6 points
6
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Oppy's picture

October 09, 2021 at 08:23 am

Playing like Blake Martinez shouldn't be used as a negative.

Lots of fans have said things like "Typical packers luck, they let a guy go (Martinez) and he balls out for a different team, makes you wonder about coaching" etc etc.

Thing is, in Blake's case, he's performing extremely similarly to how he performed in GB. He's a good ILB. Maybe not "dominating", but he's a solid, above average ILB.

1 points
1
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 09, 2021 at 02:24 pm

Agreed. I wanted him back but not at the price he got, and I suspect I just cheaped out and in a cap neutral world Martinez would have been worth it. Course, Campbell is playing very well indeed for less, but he will be in GB for only this year.

0 points
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Oppy's picture

October 09, 2021 at 02:35 pm

Is Campbell going to be another of the cap casualties you figure?

0 points
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Guam's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:10 am

Sorry, double post.

0 points
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Rossonero's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:35 am

From Bleacher Nation: "For what it's worth, Smith is Pro Football Focus’ 11th-highest-graded linebacker after four weeks. Smith’s 69.5 grade is better than Bobby Wagner (69.1), Fred Warner (57.5), and Roquan Smith (46.9). PFF also has high praise for Smith’s efforts in coverage. Smith’s 82.2 coverage grade is the third best among linebackers. Given this set of data, now I’m even more confused as to why Dallas is dropping Smith."

From McCarthy's comments, it sounded like Smith did not fit into their scheme anymore. Either way, if Dallas is going to have to pay most of his salary, then it is a smart signing at a positional group that GB has traditionally just not valued. He'll probably need a week or two to learn the defensive playbook, but would imagine he'll gradually work his way in....in a 17 game season plus playoffs (knock on wood), all the depth we can get is appreciated. Thanks Gute.

15 points
15
0
wildbill's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:48 am

Not sure why Dallas wouldn’t keep him just for injury insurance since they are going to have to pay him big bucks anyway. Makes me wonder but hope it pays off for us at a low cost.

5 points
5
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dobber's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:26 am

Jerrah's in love with his rookie LBs...enough so that he's decided to cut just to try to make that point and prop himself up. After all, the money is paid, so it's not as if he's saving much of anything by letting him go. MAYBE he's trying to clear some of Smith's dead money obligation from 2022 so they can use that cap elsewhere next off-season, but the savings are only so-so relative to the depth risk they're taking.

3 points
3
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MITM's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:46 am

According to Cowboys fans, they released him in the hopes that a team would have signed him to a multi year deal at some point, which would lower the cost of the 7.6 mill they owe him, by a couple of million bucks

3 points
3
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dobber's picture

October 08, 2021 at 08:06 am

I don't think there was any offset language in Smith's deal with the Doughboys. This wasn't first rounder and was on his second deal, so I don't think he's eligible for it.

https://www.yardbarker.com/nfl/articles/how_offset_language_in_nfl_contr...

0 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 08, 2021 at 10:23 am

Ken Ingalls reports that there is offset language in Jaylon Smith's contract. He corrected himself, btw, after initially passing along someone else's report that there was no offset language.

Some reports suggest that Dallas was worried about Smith getting injured. His $9M base salary for 2022 is guaranteed for injury. Per OTC, Dallas is $13.8M over the cap for 2022. Not in the same league as GB, but not good, either. Dallas at least has players with contracts that can be manipulated to generate cap space that wouldn't be terrible ideas.

0 points
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dobber's picture

October 09, 2021 at 06:09 am

Thanks TGR!

1 points
1
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MarkinMadison's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:40 am

Two ILBs who are veterans and competent. That would be a first since the Packers switched to the 3-4. Could help. Can't hurt.

14 points
16.5
2.5
Razer's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:53 am

I love your bottom-lines. Couldn't agree more.

1 points
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Razer's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:23 am

Smith injured his knee (ACL and LCL) in his 2016 draft year bowl game. He was drafted by the Cowboys in the 2nd with the hopes that he could rehab over the 2017 season and play the follow year. The fear was that he suffered nerve damage and would never play with the speed and agility that he did while at Notre Dame.

Given the Cowboys run a 4-3 and we run a 3-4 (or Kenny Clark and others), it will be interesting to see how he fits. My fundamental concern is the man. Is Smith a professional that works on his craft and has personal integrity? We will see.

Overall, it is worth a look. Heaven knows that he won't be displacing a starter :o)

2 points
3
1
Starrbrite's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:53 am

The ol’, “he didn’t fit our scheme” quote; I suspect there is more to his release than that?
But, I am happy we’re willing to kick the tires on him; I believe he’ll be an upgrade.
IMO, Burks and Summers inspire little or no confidence.

5 points
5
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jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 07:56 pm

I'm sure he called McCarthy out. Nobody dumps 7M in your lap and makes believe all is well in crackeristan.

-1 points
0
1
bizz888's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:10 am

I was completely caught off-guard to see Jaylon cut but the Cowboys are going a different direction these days. There was no way he would remain unemployed for very long and good for The Pack for scooping him up as quickly as they did. Building up the D shows the rest of the team that a willingness to make the moves necessary to keep up with the best teams in the NFC.

https://www.bostonareacaterers.com

1 points
3
2
Oppy's picture

October 09, 2021 at 03:59 pm

Do you cater to Lambeau?

0 points
0
0
PackfanNY's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:12 am

Every player does not have to be a “star”. Unfortunately, the injury Smith suffered in the Bowl game while with Notre Dame robbed him of some of the quickness and side to side cutting ability. However, he has had some good production numbers with three seasons of combined tackles over 100. I don’t think he covers well.

I would expect that the Packers will work him in slowly to leverage his strengths and minimize the exposure to his weaknesses. Unlike Dallas who were saddled by his bad contract, the Packers can tap into some production for a low cost. Considering the uncertainty surrounding Barnes’ availability, I think this is a good pickup to help take some of the pressure from Campbell.

7 points
7
0
dobber's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:42 am

"I don’t think he covers well."

Read above. Smith has always had a rep for being a good cover backer...esp. in zone.

I would say that Smith is BETTER than Campbell. He's not Devin White, but he's an upgrade for the Packers.

2 points
4
2
jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 07:55 pm

If he was decimated as an LB , then why did he put up beaucoup numbers and dominate with van Esch and make the Pro Bowl?

-1 points
0
1
Oppy's picture

October 09, 2021 at 08:27 am

oooooh, beaucoup. Spelling is sexy.

0 points
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0
LayingTheLawe's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:54 pm

So far this season he is the number 3 ranked inside linebacker in pass coverage. He may need to be situational as he appears to be not as stout against the run.

0 points
0
0
jh9's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:23 am

I like the signing. Now, if BG can find someone to upgrade the DL, I’ll feel a lot better about our chances to be in the SB.

5 points
6
1
4thand1's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:29 am

The Packers have addressed ILBer With Campbell and now Smith. The elephant in the room has FINALLY BEEN PUT TO BED. We should be jumping for joy in cheesheadville! GOPACKGO

7 points
7
0
MITM's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:47 am

Smith will be here for 13 games only this season. We can't/won't pay him. Campbell is also only on a 1 year deal unfortunately. The problem is solved for now only

-2 points
1
3
LambeauPlain's picture

October 07, 2021 at 12:51 pm

If a certain QB demands a trade to play for Mike Tomlin in 2022, the Packers will have plenty of cap to sign both Campbell and Smith.

1 points
3
2
jannes bjornson's picture

October 07, 2021 at 08:07 pm

A bit early for the thursday night drinkers club, eh, bub?

-1 points
0
1
dobber's picture

October 07, 2021 at 09:36 am

This is EXACTLY the kind of transaction we ask for every year with this team. Smith is an athletic, established, durable vet in his prime, who immediately gives this team an upgrade at a position of weakness -- ILB -- and takes pressure off the S position through his ability to cover and play 3 downs.

He's in a different league from Burks, McDuffie, and Summers, markedly better than Barnes (who also can't be relied on to stay on the field), and is probably better than Campbell. This is the best ILB tandem the Packers have had since before Hawk/Bishop, and moves the position more toward the fast, aggressive kind of tandem we've seen other teams use to frustrate the Packers. What's more: he's dirt cheap and wanted to come to GB.

This is a quality move, and it leaves room under the cap to still make an additional move or two. The defense got meaningfully better today.

10 points
13
3
greengold's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:08 am

AGREE 100%. Wow. Gutekunst had this fortune drop in his lap. I think we will start seeing a very different, improved Packers D moving forward with the addition of Jaylon Smith. I can't believe we still have cap room if needed. Especially after also signing Rasul Douglass, who had numbers comparable to Kevin King's best year in 2019.

Nice work by Gutekunst and his pro scouting staff.

6 points
8
2
CheesyTex's picture

October 07, 2021 at 01:22 pm

Thank you, dobber.

I find your posts to generally be unbiased and knowledgeable, so it's reassuring to hear your positive view of what Smith brings to the Pack.

I feel very much the same way about Smith, but wondered if my bias toward his alma mater might be influencing my thinking.

Also hope Z returns this season (Smith Triplets at LB plus Campbell) -- oh my god, real linebackers.

-2 points
1
3
Tundraboy's picture

October 07, 2021 at 05:46 pm

Spot on. Perhaps the sheer realization of what other teams do to frustrate us has taken hold with Gute and staff. I can no longer recall when the last time we had a pair of ILB capable of playing the position the right way. Before Bishop and Hawk for sure.

0 points
0
0
PatrickGB's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:03 am

On an earlier post I had him listed as an OLB not ILB. My bad. I guess he is better than Summers and OB. With Rivers gone for the year maybe the plan from Barry involves more inside backers on defense.

3 points
3
0
dobber's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:24 am

He's played both. He likely is best suited to play outside on the weak side in an even front, but he can play inside and off-ball OLB in this defense, too. I think he and Campbell bring versatility to the LB room.

5 points
5
0
LambeauPlain's picture

October 07, 2021 at 01:01 pm

Yep. Smith played both middle and outside LB at Notre Dame. He was viewed as an OLB in the draft given his 4.5 speed, 6'3", 235-240 lb size. Dallas had the outside covered so got him on the field playing MLB and he flourished.

Really a curious move by Dallas cutting one of the best LBs in the NFL, but is seems clear Quinn wants Parson's to start.

Different talent level, but Kamal Martin was not seen a fit for Barry either.

1 points
1
0
greengold's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:03 am

Great signing!!! Jaylon Smith's draft grade was 7.30 (Perennial All-Pro). He's got length, size, speed, instincts and sound tackling ability.His numbers are actually pretty good. Just what the doctor ordered.

5 points
6
1
LambeauPlain's picture

October 07, 2021 at 01:03 pm

Smith knows how to rush the passer too. He can be employed by Barry in a number of ways. Gutey just got the Packer Defense a top NFL player.

3 points
3
0
Packers1985's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:57 am

Though i am happy with this signing since it didn't cost much for the packers. I am worried about our Cb group and pass rush with the injuries to the key players. Just in our back up edge rusher chauncey rivers is most likely going to IR.

4 points
4
0
MITM's picture

October 07, 2021 at 10:48 am

I hope Jaylon packed his pass rushing shoes

2 points
2
0
RCPackerFan's picture

October 07, 2021 at 11:05 am

I'm really intrigued with seeing him with Joe Barry. Barry has had a number of really good ILB's under him. Smith has all the skills. This could be a very good pairing.

I wouldn't be surprised if they find a way to use him combined with Campbell and Barnes.

4 points
4
0
LambeauPlain's picture

October 07, 2021 at 12:30 pm

Not to quibble, but who were the really gook ILBs Barry had under him? In spite of the Rams being one of the best Ds last year in the NFL...PFF ranked the Barry coached ILBs as one of the worst groups in the NFL in 2020.

That said, the D is showing signs of life. Smith will upgrade the D.

Had Smith not had the ACL tear his junior year, he would have been a top 5 pick. He has been one of the top ILBs in the NFL and is still in his prime.

Quinn/Dallas DC is playing more 4-3 now and Jones drafted 8 D players including all D with his first 6 picks....including MLB Parsons in first round and MLB Cox in the 4th.

3 points
3
0
LayingTheLawe's picture

October 07, 2021 at 12:17 pm

To be an upgrade for this team, he only has to play better than Ty Summers and Oren Burks. So I think that's a big yes.

Now is he a Pro Bowler like he was in 2019? Let's see. This seems like the sort of signing that if they had done this in the offseason everyone would be really excited by it, but because it comes in week 4 after he was cut everyone is suspicious of it.

7 points
7
0
Minniman's picture

October 07, 2021 at 12:46 pm

I like this signing - it gives the Packers the obvious present-year depth, but it also gives them a full 3/4 of a year to see if he has potential for a multi-year place at the Packers after this year’s ‘loan’ <thanks Jerry>

On the offensive side of the ball, the 2022 Packers will likely be a vastly different team - likely no Rodgers and Adams and co (tonyan, Lazard, Lewis) - so perhaps shoring up the Defense to at least have stable and capable starters is a good thing.

On the 2022 Packers Offense topic, here’s a curly question - what do the Packers do with David Bakhtiari given that the o-line hasn’t become a complete dumpster fire in his absence? His 2022 cap number is $22.7M. That amount could potentially buy a number of ‘pieces’ to surround Jordan Love with. Not unlike the Cowboys at Linebacker, the Packers aren’t badly placed with the current ‘budget’ o-line……. Do they trade ‘The Persian Diversion’ and keep Davantae Adams…. Or even Rodgers for another year?

3 points
3
0
Guam's picture

October 07, 2021 at 01:24 pm

TGR has the details, but I seem to remember that trading/cutting Bahk in 2022 saves nothing for the Packers because his large signing bonus which would normally be pro-rated over the life of the contract all comes due against the cap in 2022 with a trade/release. And that washes out the savings from shedding his contract. You would get big savings in 2023 from such a move, but nothing in 2022.

6 points
6
0
Minniman's picture

October 07, 2021 at 03:45 pm

Thanks Guam, I didn’t know (or maybe missed it in the analysis details) that signing bonuses are essentially non-transferable.

Im not specifically targeting Bakh, but from a logical standpoint the Packers need to claw back some finances from somewhere to rebalance the books to fill the inevitable forthcoming roster holes.

0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 07, 2021 at 03:52 pm

yup. Costs cap to release or trade Bakh in 2022.

0 points
0
0
LambeauPlain's picture

October 07, 2021 at 12:52 pm

Smith was tarnished by Mike Nolan's awful D in Dallas last year. In spite of that he still had a very productive 2020. But Dan Quinn came in to completely rebuild the Dallas D and the two rookie LBs were part of the rebuild. Smith, only 26 years old, was not in Quinn's reset plans and McCarthy agreed.

Smith was the top LB in college earning the Butkus Award in 2015. He did everything well for Dallas and even earned a huge contract extension in 2019 for 5 years $64 M with $35.5 M guaranteed and was an ALL PRO.

Then came the disaster in 2020 under Mike Nolan. Nolan got fired and it looks like Smith, in spite of his solid 2020 performance, is getting part of the house cleaning..

Thanks, Jerry!

8 points
8
0
flackcatcher's picture

October 07, 2021 at 05:45 pm

Today, Jerry Jones is my hero. No voodoo doll for you Jerry...

0 points
0
0
Fabio's picture

October 07, 2021 at 02:11 pm

I'm not a huge fan of Gute, but I really like this signing especially because it brings help in a position that now (with Jaire's injury) is very very fundamental.
The only thing I didn't like (and I said it at the beginning of the season) is that we should have signed Sherman in place of King at the beginning of the season. He would have given Stokes time to grow up and now, with Jaire out, we would have been safe.
Greetings from Italy
GPG

0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 07, 2021 at 03:59 pm

The reports suggest that J. Smith signed for $770K. Great get.

I almost completely agree with Dobber above. Smith is light years better than Burks and Summers and much better than Barnes. I think Smith has been better than Campbell in years past, but Campbell is having a career year. OTC values Campbell's play this year at $13M, and I don't disagree. 82 PFF grade for Campbell as well.

I don't know if the light came on for Campbell this year (he always had excellent length and very good speed) or if he just likes the Mike position, which he never had been able to play much previously - jordan hicks in AZ last year was ahead of him - and thus loves the Joe Barry defensive scheme.

[I really like McDuffie. I suppose he isn't ready yet, so I agree with dobber that Smith is indeed much better, but I am not voluntarily dissing my draft crush.]

3 points
3
0
Swisch's picture

October 07, 2021 at 04:34 pm

The challenge of being a GM -- and the fun for us as fans as aspiring amateur GMs -- is finding the players who have been underappreciated on other teams but are ready to step up into a starring role, or at least a starting role.
Maybe the player wasn't utilized to his fullest potential on another team, but can thrive on the Packers with the right preparation and positioning and positivity.
It's even fun to see which guys who have been with the Packers may step up their play under our new defensive coordinator. It seems too early to tell, but we'll have to see how Keke and King and others develop as this season continues.
As I like to note occasionally in my posts, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, and Ray Nitzschke appeared to be failures in the NFL when a little-known offensive coordinator from the Giants -- Vince Lombardi -- was named head coach of the lowly Packers in 1959.
Apparently even Lombardi had trouble getting himself noticed for advancement -- but when he did, he had a knack for finding potential in his players.
Even the talented Jerry Kramer had been somewhat of a goof off. He excelled after Lombardi gave him both a kick in the pants and a pat on the jersey.
A great thing about sports is that people matter, and not just for their talent but for their character. Bringing out the best in ourselves and in others is a wonder that transcends sports.

2 points
2
0
Irish_Cheesehead's picture

October 07, 2021 at 06:14 pm

How can you not like this signing when Jerry Jones is paying his salary? Thanks, Jerry!

3 points
3
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Cartwright's picture

October 08, 2021 at 02:24 am

McCarthy must still like the Packers. He's throwing them a fine version of himself, a bone with lots of meat on it. He must be making up for all the bad years of, " if we only had a defense". Thanks McPuffy! GPG

-2 points
0
2
4thand1's picture

October 07, 2021 at 06:47 pm

Are there any other Smiths out there?

3 points
3
0
Swisch's picture

October 07, 2021 at 07:01 pm

If not, we may have to look for more guys named Jones ;-).
Thanks for the laugh, 4thand1.

1 points
1
0