Carolina Panthers tried to sign Jaylon Smith before LB joined Green Bay Packers

Bart Scott and Louis Riddick react after Jaylon Smith's release from the Cowboys was signed by the Packers. (1:22).
Sources told ESPN that the Carolina Panthers made an effort to sign Jaylon Smith, a former Dallas Cowboys linebacker, on the same day as they acquired Stephon Gilmore, a star cornerback, in a trade.

The Panthers tried to convince Smith to choose Carolina over the Green Bay Packers shortly after Gilmore was traded to the New England Patriots in the 2023 sixth round. Sources say that Smith was also interested in Washington Football Team, as they shared a mutual interest in both Washington and Carolina.

Smith decided to reunite his Packers coach Matt LaFleur with whom he had spent two seasons at Notre Dame. Sources say Smith and LaFleur have remained in touch, and they have a great respect for one another. This relationship helped convince Smith to move to Green Bay.

It wasn't because of a lackluster interest from the Panthers (3-1), who had plans to improve one of the league’s best defenses.

Donte Jackson, Panthers defensive back, stated Wednesday that Gilmore's trade sent a message that "they are confident we can win now". Scott Fitterer, general manager, echoed this sentiment and said that Gilmore was the reason he wanted to buy Gilmore.