NFL Media's Albert Breer reported Monday, via a source close to Smith, that the former New Orleans Saints star was finalizing a deal with the Pats. The team later announced the contract after it was signed.
Back in 2009, coach Bill Belichick revealed that the Patriots had a "lot of interest" in Smith coming out of Ohio State in 2004. As we see time and time again, NFL teams continue to carry a torch for favored players years after they were originally drafted.
Already miscast as an outside linebacker in Rob Ryan's 3-4 defense during training camp, Smith's 2013 season was a wash after tearing his ACL in late August.
Turning 33 years old this summer, the one-time Pro Bowl selection likely will be ticketed for a situational pass rusher role.
We don't see Smith as a lock to make the Patriots' final roster, however. He's coming off major knee surgery and has surpassed 7.0 sacks only once since the 2006 season.
In a best-case scenario, Smith will find rejuvenation in New England similar to Andre Carter's 10-sack season in 2011.