New Jets quarterback Geno Smith didn’t have much to say about his decision to change agents only days after the draft. Someone close to Smith has since said plenty more.
Barry Petchesky of Deadspin has spoken to a person in the Smith camp, who has shared some details regarding the decision to ditch Select Sports Group. The source says that the agents “absolutely” told Smith he’d be the first overall pick in the draft, but that the promise came at the outset of the process — surely before the first-pick-possessing Chiefs traded a high second-round pick and a 2014 selection for quarterback Alex Smith.
The bigger issue, per the source, is that Smith believes the agency “handled” him like a “potential high pick,” failing to do things that could have pushed his stock higher.
One sticking point seems to be the decision to keep Smith out of the Senior Bowl. Of course, it’s possible that Smith could have hurt himself — literally and figuratively — by spending the week in Mobile against top competition and under the eye of constant coaching and scouting. Then there’s the reality that fellow former West Virginia quarterback Pat White was the MVP of the 2009 Senior Bowl, went five spots later than Smith, and ended up out of the league after only one season.
Smith also was “disappointed” that the agents didn’t do more to combat the negative scouting report from Pro Football Weekly. Likewise, Smith felt “betrayed” that other clients of the firm signed with the Bills (Kevin Kolb) and the Chiefs (Chase Daniel), which while likely off the mark in this specific case means that Smith is one of the rare athletes who is actually troubled by the rampant conflicts of interest inherent to the agent business.
“He just felt like he needed a change, and that’s the end of the story,” the source ultimately told Petchesky. Still, the problem is the timing. Coming in the immediate wake of the draft, it appears to the casual, neutral observer that Smith was simply reacting to the fact that he fell from round one to pick No. 39, blaming someone other than himself for the slide.
And now that Smith must wait five days to sign a new agent, there’s no one to currently combat Jason Cole’s report that Smith displayed a bad attitude in pre-draft meetings.