Don't Be a Scrooge, Jerry! Give Steve Smith a Contract Extension!
Around this time of year, you get a lot of people talking about what they'd really like for Christmas.
Some say they want nothing more than peace on earth.
Others would be fine with good will from their fellow men.
The Giants' Steve Smith apparently wants a contract extension , and the team's general manager, Jerry Reese, had better give it to him.
Even though the 2009-10 Pro Bowl selections have yet to be formally announced, it's exceedingly likely that Smith will be among them. 15 weeks into the season, Smith leads the NFC in receptions. He ranks third in the conference in receiving yards. He is tied for second in number of first downs gained.
All of this production comes in Smith's first season as a full-time starter. Last year, just his second in the league, he led the Giants in receptions despite starting only four games. Throw in the fact that Smith is only 24 years old, and there's ample reason for Reese to get into the holiday spirit, and do it soon.
Smith's contract technically runs through the 2010-11 season. But with the specter of an uncapped season in 2010 looming, there's no telling what kind of astronomical salary Smith could command in the most open market in NFL history.
Imagine what Daniel Snyder, who gave Antwan Randle-El an $11.5 million signing bonus in 2006 , could pony up.
Think of what the Chicago Bears, who will likely be in the middle of rebuilding their defense and in dire need of receivers, would be willing to spend.
Reese could just franchise Smith to keep him out of the 2010-11 spending spree. But one of his most underrated talents as a GM is his ability to sign his players to reasonable extensions.
Back when Osi Umenyiora was coming off his first Pro Bowl selection, Reese managed to lock up one of the league's hottest defensive linemen for a modest $15 million in guarantees. Two years after Brandon Jacobs scored 15 touchdowns, Reese got him for just $13 million in bonus money.
So if Smith and his agent, Ralph Cindrich, are willing to commit to a contract that reflects what Smith is—a valuable, up-and-coming, but not necessarily elite, wide receiver—then Reese ought to take one big task off his To Do List and simply add it to his Christmas list.
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