Smith, who played for the Oakland Raiders last season, spent the previous five seasons in Houston, the majority of them playing for defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and defensive line coach Bill Kollar. Kollar recently made a lateral move to the Denver Broncos in an effort to get closer to his grandchildren. The Texans let him out of his contract to pursue the move.
In that sense, the Broncos will offer much more familiarity for Smith than the Texans could have. He doesn't know this new staff much at all.
The role for which the Texans wanted Smith was as a third-down pass-rusher. They could still bring back Tim Jamison to fill that role or address it in the draft. It remains a need defensively, in addition to safety and inside linebacker depth.