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New York Jets: Should Jason Smith Return at a Reduced Rate?

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

We will take a break from our "Stay or Go?" series today to talk about the players the Jets cut yesterday. You frequently see teams in the NFL cut players making too much money to bring them back at a lower price. First up is tackle Jason Smith.

There was zero chance of the Jets bringing back Smith at his $12 million price tag. That is too much money for somebody who profiles as a backup. The Jets acquired Smith near the end of the preseason. It did not seem like the Jets loved Smith. They were so desperate to get Wayne Hunter out of town that they took Smith back. While Hunter got four starts in St. Louis and was pretty abysmal, Smith saw limited action in New York. He worked mainly as an extra tight end in power formations and did a very good job as a run blocker.

That itself does not mean very much. A tackle who is good as an extra tight end is like a wide receiver who blocks well. It is nice to have, but it is meaningless if that is all a player brings to the table. Smith was a former second overall pick in St. Louis who was such a bust that all he could bring back was Wayne Hunter.

Even so, I think there is potential in Smith. When the Rams took him in 2009, he was always deemed an "upside" guy. He was an extremely raw prospect who went high because he had top athleticism. In what little we saw of him last year, he did look solid. It is difficult to imagine anybody beating down the door to land him. If the Jets can get him for a minimum deal, it might be worth another year of trying to develop him. The Jets are going to have to hope they hit some homeruns in 2013 with projects. I wouldn't go much higher than the minimum with Smith, but at the right price he can be an adequate swing tackle at the very least.