He may have been all smiles on the podium, but West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith didn’t take long to express his disappointment at falling out of the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. According to several sources, Smith has fired his agents, Select Sports, who represented him through the draft process.
While his name had been in consideration for the first round, and maybe even No. 1 overall, Smith instead went 39th to the New York Jets, who went on to give Tim Tebow his outright release. While it’s unclear who Smith will retain as his representative, apparently it won’t be rapper/mogul Jay-Z, whose company’s stable of athletes includes New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano and New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz.
What all this really means is uncertain, but the signal it sends is loud and clear. Smith has to be disappointed that he fell so far in the draft, but more importantly this puts him in a very precarious position. Smith finds himself in a four-way battle for the starting quarterback job in one of the most intensely scrutinized markets in the world, and with a coach who has shown that he’s willing to play favorites — literally.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan has repeatedly shown that he will place his faith in Mark Sanchez despite being let down time and again by him last season. Ryan’s refusal to play Tebow, even in situations which seemed tailor-made for him, and now Tebow is in a position where he has gone from sought-after to discarded.
Smith has shown that he can fit into the Jets’ schemes, at least based on what offensive co-ordinator Marty Morninweg has favoured in the past. However, he is now on a team which has shown in the Tebow debacle that it doesn’t really know what it’s doing. Smith is walking into a minefield where he’ll be competing against Sanchez, Greg McElroy and David Garrard. Even if he shows that he’s the best of the field, Smith most likely will end up holding a clipboard on the sidelines and watching Sanchez struggle once again, with McElroy picking up the pieces.
Someone had to pay the price for landing Smith in this unenviable jackpot, and that turned out to be Select Sports. Now it’s a guessing game as to what happens going forward in terms of the dynamic between Smith and the Jets. It might be all smiles on the surface, but no one should be surprised if it’s not sunshine and rainbows behind the scenes.