Za'Darius Smith has also played the final year of his contract and hit a career high with 8.5 sacks during the 2018 season. DeCosta noted that production as a pass rusher while discussing his hopes for bringing the 2015 fourth-round pick back in 2019.
“I think the jury’s still out,” DeCosta said, via the team’s website. “We don’t know what Za’Darius’ market is going to be. We have a lot of different ways that we could go. He had a really nice year. Typically, the market is usually out of control for those guys, initially out of the gate. There are some good pass rushers this year. We’re optimistic we may have a chance to bring him back, but in some cases, it’s really not up to us. It’s up to what the market bears.”
Dee Ford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney, Frank Clark and Trey Flowers are some of the players that could fit into DeCosta’s description of the good pass rushers in this year’s free agent class. Whether they re-sign or get franchise tagged, not all of those players are going to hit the open market and a smaller pool could push Smith’s price tag up as other teams won’t have the luxury of pursuing multiple options.