Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
The career arc of the St. Louis Rams 2009 first-round pick is trending down.
Smith was the second overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. The first player picked by GM Billy Devaney and head coach Steve Spagnuolo and the sign of mediocre drafts to come. Injuries plagued Smith throughout his career in St. Louis, but trips to the trainer's table were nothing compared to his marginal effectiveness as a player, as fans will recall.
Jeff Fisher and Les Snead shipped Smith off to the Jets in exchange for Wayne Hunter, an even swap of underachievers. Hunter did a little better in a reserve role with the Rams. Smith, whose passion for the game had been oft questioned, was not a fit for the Rams roster under Fisher.
Smith's deal was reworked before sending him to the Jets. His new contract was such that it was never in the cards for the Jets to keep him beyond this season.
The Jets had Smith on the field for a paltry 265 snaps this season, mostly as an extra blocker in certain packages.
There's a valuable teaching point about the high cost of bad picks under the old rookie salary system. Smith's original contract would have paid him $10 million in 2012 and $12 million for 2013. The total cap, TOTAL, for all four players the Rams picked in the first and second rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft was about $4.5 million for the season.
Wayne Hunter is due $3.95 million for 2013 and $2.95 million for 2014. Most expect the Rams to cut him in order to free up some space under a tight cap.