If signing Jason Pierre-Paul was the Giants’ perfectly poured pint of Guinness on St. Paddy’s Day, Geno Smith was the unnecessary shot of Jameson that didn’t go down so well at last call.
Why ruin a good time?
The Giants have an agreement to sign Smith, 26, according to a source, contingent on a physical this weekend. If the former Jets quarterback checks out healthy coming off ACL surgery on his right knee, he is expected to sign with the team on Monday.
This arrangement, though, seems like a striking indictment of the state of Smith’s career.
Any young quarterback in Smith’s position presumably would seek a second chance to play and prove he is a capable NFL starter. But Smith is joining a situation where he not only isn’t competing for a starting job but likely will not play a single snap even if he makes the roster.
The Giants themselves perfectly described the job of backing up Eli Manning in a Friday release announcing the re-signing of journeyman veteran QB Josh Johnson to a reported two-year deal: “It is a position in which inactivity is frequent, because Manning has started 211 consecutive games, including playoffs, since 2004.”
The implication and only rational explanation, frankly, is that Smith didn’t have a better option. The only other factor could be strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman’s reputation and potential positive influence on Smith’s rehabilitation, but plenty of NFL teams are capable in caring for their players.
Smith’s off-field drama as a Jet no doubt contributed to a paltry market, including being kicked off a plane, missing team meetings in California and blaming the three-hour time change, and getting knocked out by former teammate IK Enemkpali in the Jets’ locker room. The greater factor for Smith, though, is his history of bad decision making, including 43 total turnovers to 35 touchdowns in 33 career games played.
From the Giants’ perspective, Jerry Reese’s decision to sign Smith is difficult to understand partially because of the turnovers, a problem of Manning’s that coach Ben McAdoo blamed as the offense’s greatest shortcoming of 2016. But also, why bring in Smith while also re-signing Johnson, who finished last season as Manning’s backup while Ryan Nassib was injured?
Nassib, a Reese 2013 fourth-round pick coming off surgery on his throwing elbow, is now a free agent.
Signing Smith on Monday certainly seems to make it less likely that the Giants will draft a quarterback in late April, since there are only so many reps to go around in camp. And while everyone deserves a second chance, Smith also wouldn’t seem to be the first choice to mentor any potential draftee.
Johnson, who turns 31 in May, grew on the Giants in his first and only season with the team in 2016. It was no surprise Reese brought him back (though it was interesting that Johnson, who shares an agent with Pierre-Paul, re-signed the same day that JPP cashed in on $40 million guaranteed).
It was just surprising that Smith, while he has a strong arm and is still young, has an agreement to compete with Johnson one week after a visit to Big Blue’s facility in East Rutherford. The Jets, annually desperate for a quarterback, certainly don’t seem to mind. ESPN’s Jordan Raanan first reported Smith’s agreement with the Giants.
Published at Fri, 17 Mar 2017 16:20:30 +0000