NFL Free Agency Primer: Donovan Smith

The regular season has come to a close, and most teams have already begun the complicated process of preparing for the 2023 season. As the new league year approaches, we'll be covering the impending free agents most capable of shifting the balance of power in the NFL.

The Player: Donovan Smith

Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle Donovan Smith was one of the first dominos to fall in what is expected to be a rebuilding year for the Bucs. Released from a two-year, $31 million extension earlier this offseason, Smith will hope his elite resume will help teams overlook an ugly 2022 season that saw him earn a 58.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. Still only 29 years old and with a history of durability (124 starts in eight seasons), he should have plenty of good years ahead of him.

The Fit:

Smith is a mountainous left tackle (6'6", 338 lbs) with plenty of experience in effective, high-volume passing attacks. The Bucs finished in the top three for points scored in 2019, 2020, and 2021 with him protecting the blindside; they also led the league in passing yards twice over that span. He certainly had a rough 2022, but a team with a star quarterback in place and a hole at left tackle should give him a look. Should Orlando Brown leave the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency, Smith could be an adequate replacement.

The Contract:

The Bucs just released Smith from a contract that paid him $15.5 million per year, so he wasn't worth that to them. Given the fact that he's a Super Bowl champion with no major injury concerns, he should be able to flirt with that number again on the open market. Something between Joesph Noteboom's three-year, $40 million deal with the Los Angeles Rams and Terron Armstead's five-year, $75 million pact with the Miami Dolphins would probably be fair.

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