Vikings Sign Veteran CB Tye Smith

Tye Smith
Oct 25, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) is tackled by Tennessee Titans cornerback Tye Smith (23) after a catch at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings used a smidgen of their newly-available $14-15 million in cap space on Wednesday.

Per Josina Anderson, the team reportedly signed Tye Smith, a cornerback that previously played for the Tennessee Titans.

The move should be considered a “depth” move as Smith is not a tried-and-true starting CB, at least not to date. Drafted in the 5th Round of the 2015 NFL Draft — the place where the Vikings found Stefon Diggs 24 spots prior– Smith has spent time with the Seahawks and Titans. So far in his six-year career, he’s played in 40 games while starting in seven of those contests. In 2020, Smith participated in 15% of all Titans defensive plays, tallying 12 total tackles and one tackle for loss. Smith grabbed one career interception — from former Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler — in 2017. He also saw ample special teams action during the playoffs in the Titans surprise push to the 2019 AFC Championship.

Smith has registered the following annual Pro Football Focus grades:

  • 2015 = No Meaningful Regular Season Action
  • 2016 = No Meaningful Regular Season Action
  • 2017 = 64.9
  • 2018 = No Meaningful Regular Season Action
  • 2019 = 71.6
  • 2020 = 61.4

Smith joins a suddenly-crowded CB room that includes Patrick Peterson, Cameron Dantzler, Mackensie Alexander, Kris Boyd, Harrison Hand, Dylan Mabin, Parry Nickerson, and Jeff Gladney.

On Gladney, he should see noteworthy playing time in 2021, but his behavior in Texas casts his future in doubt. The TCU alumnus is accused of assaulting his girlfriend. There is no timetable for resolution.

And that’s part of the reason that Minnesota needs bodies at the cornerback position. The only true-blue starting CB contractually slated to play for the team beyond 2021 is Cameron Dantzler (and Gladney if his situation enables him to play for the Vikings again).

Smith is the first free-agent signing after June 1st — the date circled on calendars by many Vikings fans. General Manager Rick Spielman has roughly $14 million to use on free agents following Kyle Rudolph’s contractual expiration from the Vikings books.