The Pittsburgh Steelers have informed defensive end Aaron Smith they are releasing him at the start of the new league year.
According to Smith’s agent Peter Schaffer, the Steelers informed the long-time veteran today they would not be retaining him.
Smith, 35, was scheduled to earn $2.1 million this season, carrying a cap hit of approximately $2.9 million. He turns 36 in April. Going into training camp last season, Smith was scheduled to be a free agent in 2012 but the team surprisingly extended his contract for one more season when Smith agreed to restructure his $4.5 million salary in 2011.
Like Ward, it was a no brainer to cut ties with Smith from a playing standpoint. Releasing Ward and Smith will also open up close to $5.5 million in cap space.
At some point, Smith is highly expected to announce his retirement, instead of trying to sign with another team.
The 35 year old appeared in just four games last season and only 15 of the Steelers last 48 regular season games. Smith has not played a full season since 2008.
The 13 year veteran had a tremendous career with the Steelers, and was one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the game. In 160 career games, Smith had 453 tackles, 44 sacks and 7 forced fumbles. He won two super bowls with the Steelers.