Eric Smith was one of two men the Jets chose in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft, the first one in which Eric Mangini and Mike Tannenbaum ran. While generally considered a reach at the time, Smith stuck on the roster unlike the other guy Gang Green selected in that third round, boar hunter extraordinaire, Anthony Schlegel.
Smith has generally been a reserve during his time with the Jets but has gotten spot duty starting since his second season. Sometimes it has been due to injury as was the case this year with Jim Leonhard. Other times it has been to send a message to a starter like Kerry Rhodes in 2009 or Brodney Pool in 2010. He has never stuck as a starter, though. The Jets have made moves to acquire guys like Pool, Leonhard, and Abram Elam in recent years to not have to go with Smith.
Eric has still developed into a valuable reserve and a good special teamer during his run in green and white. Now he is a free agent, another guy whose status as either restricted or unrestricted will be determined by the CBA.