|Free Agent Snapshot: Brad Smith||05.26.11 at 1:01 am ET|
Despite the labor uncertainty, WEEI.com will present a list of 10 possible fits for the Patriots in free agency (under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement) this offseason. Click here to view the list of players we’ve profiled as part of this feature so far.
Position: Wide receiver/special teamer
Weight: 210 pounds
While his numbers the last few seasons won’t blow you away (he has just 23 catches the last three years, including four in 2010), Smith has been a tough, physical presence on offense for the Jets since he was selected out of Missouri in the 2006 draft. He’s done a little of everything — he’s lined up at wide receiver, worked as a Wildcat quarterback and returned kicks — and that offensive versatility would almost certainly endear him to the Patriots. His durability (he’s only missed four regular-season games in five years in the NFL) and a relatively low price tag are also appealing.
Smith has evolved into a Swiss Army Knife of a player: In last year’s Jets-Bengals Thanksgiving game, Smith amassed 200 all-purpose yards in the Jets’ 26-10 win, becoming only the fourth player in NFL history to score on a rushing play of 50-plus yards and a kickoff return in the same game. In addition, Smith took an end-around 53 yards for a touchdown.
(For what it’s worth, this former college quarterback also picked up 767 rushing yards — including a career-best 299 last season — and a 7.8 yards per carry average in five years, presumably much of that in the Wildcat. He wouldn’t be asked to run the Wildcat in New England, but the yards per carry average show a willingness to absorb contact that many receivers might shy from.)
The wide receiver spot for the Jets could undergo some serious changes over the offseason — there are questions about the future of Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes in New York (although the safe bet is that the Jets would choose Holmes over Edwards if pressed). Meanwhile, there are several reports that indicate the Jets are interested in Randy Moss, while New York also drafted wide receiver Jeremy Kerley in the fifth-round, a player who has a skill set similar to Smith. (The Jets also drafted wide receiver and Mark Sanchez BFF Scotty McKnight.) All this means Smith probably isn’t in New York’s future plans.
If he landed with the Patriots, it certainly wouldn’t be a high profile signing, but the addition of a veteran of the AFC wars like Smith could provide some wide receiver depth and add another special teams option for New England.
Why it might not work: If the 2010 CBA rules are kept in place, he’d be a restricted free agent, which would limit his availability. In addition, if the Patriots enter the 2011 season confident in their return game (namely, Brandon Tate), they might be inclined to take a pass on Smith.
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