A Quick Look into the Jason Smith Trade
“Trader” Mike Tannenbaum strikes again, though I wouldn’t exactly say this is a bombshell on the level of acquiring Santonio Holmes for a 5th round pick or trading up to draft Darrelle Revis. The Jets have taken a risk if they end their pursuit of a tackle here, as what they’ve done with the Rams is simply swap disappointments and hope a change of scenery can help jumpstart a career of the player whose only accomplishment thus far is be the biggest bust of the 2009 draft.
Smith’s career has been derailed by a fair share of injuries, most notably a series of concussions. But even when on the field Smith hasn’t exactly lit it up. Much like Hunter, Jason Smith has had trouble protecting the quarterback and doesn’t offer a whole lot as a run blocker either. St. Louis has given him a fair amount of time to come good but when put in an actual competition this summer for a starting position he lost out to Barry Richardson.
The Rams have traded Smith for Hunter for salary reasons. Because Smith hadn’t performed his first three years in the league, the Rams attempted to get him to take a pay cut back in April. Much like what the Jets did with Hunter this season though, the Rams made his renegotiated salary($4 million) guaranteed in order to get him to accept the deal. So for the Rams, paying a sixth lineman $2.45 million in guaranteed salary is preferred to paying one $4 million in guaranteed salary. So in essence, the Hunter-Smith swap gives the Rams a total of $1.55 million in cap relief while the Jets will see a similar increase.
While it’s nice that the Jets have been able to offload Hunter and acquire a replacement player with high potential, the move can also be met with a healthy dose of skepticism. There’s a good chance that the Jets make no marked improvement at the position and have just simply added even more commitment in terms of salaries. It’s another case of a low risk, high reward move even if the high reward isn’t likely, but on the other hand it is possible the increase in salaries puts the Jets off from pushing seriously for a potential starter if one gets cut later this week. It’s hard to say what the Jets have planned for Smith, though I think for now Austin Howard will remain the starter. Then again, the last player drafted in the 2009 first round that the Jets picked up after their original team gave up on them was Aaron Maybin. Maybe lightning can strike twice.