Brad Smith: 6 Teams and the Roles on Each He Could Fill in 2011
Brad Smith has carved a living out in New York by being versatile.
After being a star quarterback in high school and at Missouri, Smith was drafted by the Jets in 2006 in order to be a wild card—someone who could step in to all kinds of situations and succeed. Due to his ability to create in space, he has been fairly successful, especially the past two years.
With his being a restricted free agent this year, Smith has many options, as do many different teams around the league (as long as the previous CBA's rules still apply to RFAs).
So, where could Smith be in the 2011-2012 season? Let's take a look!
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Miami and Smith are pretty familiar with each other.
As the Jets and the Dolphins are division rivals, Miami gets to see Smith, and prepare for him, at least twice a year.
Smith has had a good amount of success against them as well, the Dolphins being one of three teams against which Smith has had a rush attempt, reception, completed pass, and a kick return.
Miami could use another option on offense, especially if they wish to keep the Wildcat running, with Ronnie Brown likely leaving via free agency. Smith could fit well in that role, averaging 7.8 yards per carry for his career. Using Smith for the wildcat (in the role they envisioned for Pat White) or even just pairing him with rookie Daniel Thomas in the run game could be very productive.
Smith would also be a good option for KR/PR, helping to boost a Miami return game that ranked 22nd in 2010.
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The Cardinals are still a team without a quarterback. If you don't have a quarterback, maybe you should just go without one. (Ken Whisenhunt thinks so... kind of.)
Seriously though, the Cardinals have looked to utilize the "Wildcat" (though they called it the "Pahokee") before, using both Anquan Boldin and Antrel Rolle. Smith could be brought in for a similar role.
Arizona's anemic offense sure could use a boost, and at this point, it's worth a shot to try anything.
If Smith would come in for a smaller contract, the Cardinals could definitely be potential suitors—Arizona's being last in rushing, and 31st in total offense in 2010, it definitely couldn't hurt.
Then again, Whisenhunt may simply not want to interrupt the rhythm and training of a new quarterback, whoever that may be.
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If Cleveland truly wants to compete in the AFC North again, they must improve their 29th-ranked offense.
With Colt McCoy still struggling, an offensive jolt would be appreciated and could be brought about by Brad Smith running a Wildcat formation. With Smith, Peyton Hillis, and Josh Cribbs on the field at the same time, the Browns offense would have the potential to be very dangerous, to a certain extent.
Unfortunately, Smith's talent as a returner would be wasted on the Brown's, who already have Cribbs—a danger to bring one to the end zone on every play.
Still, Smith could compete for the fourth receiver spot while providing potential for a dangerous Wildcat formation in Cleveland.
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The Colts have had woes at kick returner for years, and bringing in a player like Smith would be a huge upgrade.
The Colts as a team had a KR average of 19.6 yards last year while Smith was averaging 28.6 yards in New York. Of course, the Colts need to improve their blocking on returns as well, but bringing in Smith would clear up the uncertainty on kick and punt returns.
Bringing in Smith could help bolster depth at receiver as well, where the Colts have had injury problems in recent years. If Peyton Manning can make Blair White a threat, he certainly could do the same with Brad Smith.
Of course, in Indianapolis Smith's potential as a Wildcat manager would be lost because the Colts would never take Manning off of the field. And, with the rule changes on kickoffs this season, Smith would likely not be worth a contract solely for kick returns.
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Seattle has a very mediocre offense. Well, Seattle has a very mediocre team in general.
Smith's versatility could be a big help for the Seahawks, especially with their uncertainty at quarterback. At receiver, Smith could come in to help if fourth-round draft pick Kris Durham doesn't work out as hoped.
While Smith's name has come up a few times in regards to Seattle, I don't think it is a good fit for him overall. While the Wildcat offense could be good, the Seahawks already have Leon Washington—who just signed to a multi-year deal—at the returner position, and the receiver spots have some young talent the team hopes to develop in Durham and Golden Tate.
But, if other teams hold off and the Jets choose to go in a different direction, Smith could be brought in for cheap.
New York Jets
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In the end, Smith's most likely home for 2011 is his current one, New York.
He's shown his ability to run their Wildcat, having earned nearly 8 yards per carry in 2010. He's been the teams best kick returner as well, as he averaged nearly 30 yards per return. Plus, the Jets showed their interest when they tendered Smith for a second straight year.
While the Jets have a few possible replacements for Smith, including second-year man Joe McKnight, Smith is likely to stick around for one more year.
As long as he's not overpaid, that's probably a good option for the Jets.
If they can improve on the timing of the Wildcat (it seemed to interrupt Mark Sanchez's rhythm at times this past year) it could be even more effective, and Smith's already shown his ability returning the ball.