The D.C. Defenders have announced the signing of veteran NFL tight end Kaden Smith. The San Francisco 49ers initially selected the Stanford standout in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. 

However, his time in San Francisco was short, as Smith would be released during his rookie season and picked up the New York Giants. Smith would spend three seasons with the Giants, starting 22 games, registering 52 receptions for 413 yards and three touchdowns.

His most memorable performance for New York came against Washington in his rookie year, where he caught six passes for 35 yards and two touchdowns, including a game-winning score in overtime. 

Injuries however would slow his time as a contributor in the NFL. Smith would injure his knee late in the 2021 season and he was released by New York after failing physical in the offseason.

It would take over a year for Smith to get back, signing with the Indianapolis Colts in the spring of 2023 but was let go last summer. The Washington Commanders would pick him up, but Smith was eventually placed on injured reserve to close training camp.

The Defenders are returning two of their top tight ends from last season, Briley Moore and Alex Ellis, but the team parted ways with veteran Ethan Wolf in December. 

If finally healthy, Kaden Smith has a chance even as a later arrival in camp to make an impact for D.C. However, time is working against him. UFL teams must cut down their rosters to 58 by March 9. Final cuts arrive on the March 23 in preparation for the Defenders' opener at the San Antonio Brahmas on the March 31. 

After adding edge rusher Chauncey Rivers and Smith, the Defenders training camp roster is at 75 players. 

Related: The Markcast Podcast: What You Need to Know Before March 30 UFL Kickoff

You can find Mike Mitchell on X @ByMikeMitchell.

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2024-03-02T18:43:16Z dg43tfdfdgfd