The Jets selected Brad Smith in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. The plan was to try and develop the college quarterback into a quality NFL receiver as the Steelers did with Antwaan Randle-El. That never really happened. Brad never figured out route running, and his hands left a lot to be desired. Even so, Smith found ways to make himself useful for Gang Green and eventually gained widespread appreciation in the fan base.
I equate Brad to a utility player in baseball. You wouldn't want him lining up at a single position on a full time basis. If you find different spots to insert him (Wildcat quarterback, receiver on reverses, running back, coverage units, return man), he'll add something to the team. Now he's a restricted free agent.
I'm not sure this is as much of a no brainer as conventional wisdom would indicate. Yes, Smith is valuable, but considered what the uncapped year means. As a final eight team, the Jets can only sign unrestricted free agents at the rate they lose them. Brad's great, but he's a luxury player. Next year Mark Sanchez will have a year under his belt and be expected to turn the passing game into a real asset. The Jets won't have to rely as much on gadgets or deception. Could the Jets not tender Smith and sign a slot receiver in his place to make the offense more explosive in a more conventional way?
The Jets could also slap a second round tender on Smith and see what happens in restricted free agency. I don't think any team would be willing to give up a first round pick on a part time player. A second round pick seems likely. What makes me say that? Last year Pat White, a player with a similar skill set, went in the second round to Miami. A lot of people had him going to other teams in the second round. Again, that early pick can help the Jets find a player who is more of a necessity in a year it's going to be difficult to make moves.
I do vote for Brad to stay, but I think it's a tougher call than a lot of people do.
What's your vote?