Geno Smith Signs Contract with Giants After 4 Seasons with Jets

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback  Geno Smith #7 of the New York Jets runs on the field during the first quarter of the game against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium on October 23, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Following four underwhelming seasons with the New York Jets, Geno Smith will look to revive his NFL career with the New York Giants.

The Giants announced the deal Monday after ESPN's Jordan Raanan and Adam Schefter reported the contract on March 17. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Wednesday that Smith's one-year deal contains a $775,000 base salary with $100,000 guaranteed and $2.3 million in per-game bonuses.

The 2013 second-round pick appeared in two games for the Jets last season before suffering a season-ending torn ACL. Injuries also limited him during the 2015 campaign, when former teammate IK Enemkpali fractured his jaw during a physical altercation before the regular season.

In his last two years with the Jets, Smith threw for 391 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in three games.

It makes sense for the Jets and Smith to go their separate ways.

New York has selected quarterbacks in each of the last two drafts—Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty—and may target another QB early in the 2017 edition. The team has more than enough depth at the position, even after losing Smith.

While he will still receive the same level of scrutiny from the media in the Big Apple, the pressure will at least be off as a certified backup behind Eli Manning, who hasn't missed a start since earning the job in his rookie season.

Smith will simply hope he can eventually turn this into a starting role down the line.

As the Jets' primary starter in 2013 and 2014, he completed 57.5 percent of his passes and threw nine more interceptions (34) than touchdowns (25). During that span, Football Outsiders ranked him 43rd and 32nd among qualified quarterbacks in DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement).

In August 2015, ESPN.com's Johnette Howard argued Smith's incident with Enemkpali spoke to broader concerns about the former West Virginia Mountaineer:

Now this: Smith's scuffle with Enemkpali. It was the worst example yet that Smith hasn't done enough in his first two seasons with the Jets to acquit himself of the criticism. Even before he suffered the broken jaw, Smith had been mocked in New York for three 2014 incidents: getting thrown off a Virgin America flight in Los Angeles for refusing the flight crew's orders to turn off his cellphone; missing a Jets meeting the night before a game against San Diego because he was at the movies and got the time change wrong; and cursing out a home fan at MetLife Stadium.

In short, Smith's behavior since The Punch has brought the old concerns about him before The Punch boomeranging back around. It has given the old raps on him new currency.

Signing Smith won't generate a ton of buzz among the Giants fanbase, but it's a low-cost move that could pay nice dividends in the event Smith finally puts everything together. Taking a flier on him is arguably a better decision than overspending in what is a lackluster crop of free-agent quarterbacks.

The team also re-signed veteran Josh Johnson on Friday, per his agent, Doug Hendrickson.


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