New York Jets

What Jason Smith for Wayne Hunter Trade Means for New York Jets

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 13:  Jason Smith #77 of the St. Louis Rams watcches the action during the game against the Seattle Seahawks on September 13, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Rams 28-0. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Erik FrenzSenior Writer IAugust 28, 2012

The turnstile keeps on spinning.

As first reported by Rich Cimini of ESPN New York, the New York Jets have sent embattled right tackle Wayne Hunter to the St. Louis Rams for offensive tackle Jason Smith.

A month ago, you had to "shoot [offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo] dead in [his] office" for Hunter to not be the starting right tackle (h/t Jenny Vrentas, the Star-Ledger).

A week ago, Hunter was starting at right tackle against the GiantsFive days ago, the downward spiral began when it was announced he would no longer be the starter. 

That downward spiral stopped spinning with Hunter landing in St. Louis and Smith landing with the Jets.

How did the Jets end up with the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft for Hunter, whose stock has been plummeting like Enron in 2000? NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal gives us his opinion:

Imagine if the Jets took Wayne Hunter No. 2 overall. That's Jason Smith.

— gregg rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) August 28, 2012

 

Shortly thereafter, Bleacher Report's own Matt Miller followed up with his take:

Jason Smith lost his starting job to Barry Freaking Richardson. That's all you need to know about your new right tackle. #Jets

— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) August 28, 2012

 

With all this in mind, the trade looks like a garbage swap. So what else do we gather from this trade?

Well, for one, Rex Ryan's bold 2010 statement (via AP sportswriter Dennis Waszak, Jr.) that Hunter was "the best backup tackle in football" looks humorous in retrospect.

But more importantly, this is yet another indictment on Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

This isn't the first bust of a first-round offensive tackle the Jets have traded for this offseason. They gave up a draft pick for OT Jeff Otah, but the Panthers forgot to say "blackjack, no trade back," and a week later Otah had failed two physicals. The trade was voided.

Look at it this way: Read this article from the Southeast Missourian about Smith losing his starting job to Richardson. Replace all instances of "Jason Smith" with "Wayne Hunter," and all "Barry Richardson" instances with "Austin Howard," and the article pretty much reads exactly like what we were reading about at the Jets' right tackle position over the past week.

It's better than doing nothing–at least the Jets are showing a willingness to try something new at a position of need. Whether it ends up being an improvement remains to be seen. 

It's unsafe to read too much into one preseason game, but Austin Howard looked pretty good against a top-notch pass-rusher in Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson. Sometimes, a player can begin to struggle when his tendencies show up on film (see: Wayne Hunter), so his long-term success remains in doubt.

But then again, so does Smith's.

According to Jenny Vrentas and the Star-Ledger, the Jets' plan is to use Smith as the blocking tight end in the "jumbo" role that Wayne Hunter filled, while Howard remains the starter.

If that's the case, though, why trade the $2.45 million Hunter for the $4 million Smith?

Only time will tell if this trade has worked out for either side. But for now, it doesn't look like a move that will change the complexion of the Jets offense, for better or worse.

 

Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained first-hand.

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