Aug 20, 2011; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Jason Smith (77) prepares to block Tennessee Titans defensive end Dave Ball (98) during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
The New Orleans Saints signed offensive tackle and former No. 2 overall pick Jason Smith to a one-year contract with the team in a move that will potentially add some competition to a weak point on the roster.
NOLA.com’s Larry Holder broke the news first, and gave a nice background of Smith’s up-and-down NFL career to date:
"Smith, 26, was the second overall selection in the 2009 draft by St. Louis. He didn’t exactly pan out for the Rams and is known for being a bust more than anything else in the NFL. St. Louis cut ties with Smith after only three seasons by trading him to New York in late August before the 2012 season. Smith played in 16 games last season, but didn’t start any of them as he served mostly as a tackle-eligible lineman."
Smith has bounced around the league after struggling to find his footing and live up to the hype of being such a high selection. In 2011 he was the No. 49 ranked offensive tackle in the NFL according to ProFootballFocus (subscription required) while only starting six games.
Over the course of his mediocre three-year stint with the Rams, he missed 19 games thanks to concussion issues.
What it Means for the Saints:
The short answer? Not much. The long answer is a bit more winded.
Let’s be blunt—Smith is a former bust who, when healthy like he was last year in New York, isn’t all that big of a difference maker anyway.
In New Orleans, Smith will compete for the starting left tackle job with Charles Brown, but the Saints could still move to address the position via the draft. If that’s the case, Smith will be simply competing for a roster spot rather than the chance to protect Drew Brees’ blindside.
Smith is one of the biggest busts in recent memory, so the Saints are smart to only give him a one-year “prove-it” type deal. He’s not a difference maker, but it is great to see the Saints bringing in cheap, high-ceiling options at most positions of need before the draft, like the team did recently with safety Jim Leonard.
The Saints continue to flirt with the salary cap with recent signings, so expect the Smith signing to result in a restructure for another player on the roster sooner rather than later.