Is Wayne Hunter the Answer in St. Louis at Right Tackle?
It has been reported by multiple sources tonight that the St. Louis Rams are close to acquiring OT Wayne Hunter from the New York Jets for fellow OT Jason Smith. ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter tweeted this at approximately 8:20 p.m. ET. He said the two sides are "close to finalizing" the deal.
It seems like this trade has "trouble for trouble" written all over it.
Hunter, who has been recently benched by the Jets in favor of Austin Howard, has had some issues in his time with New York. He can't seem to get on a good rhythm with his blocking assignments, and last year it resulted in quarterback Mark Sanchez being sacked 39 times.
Smith was picked second overall by St. Louis in the 2009 draft and has been a problem ever since. A concussion in his rookie year limited him to just six games. In addition, he was drafted as a left tackle but has since been moved to right tackle because of his inability to perform to his potential at the LT position.
In the last week, there has been speculation that Smith could not even start at right tackle when the team opens its regular season in Detroit on September 9. Barry Richardson has had a solid preseason while Smith continues to struggle. Now, it looks like he'll be gone.
So who gets the better end of this deal? The disgraced Hunter, or the battered Smith? I think a flight out of New York is just what Wayne Hunter needs, and Smith probably won't start right away, if at all, in New York.
Will Hunter play an increased role? If the deal goes through, I expect Jeff Fisher to give Hunter a chance to prove himself in the team's final preseason game Thursday against Baltimore.