With training camp around the corner the New York Jets have officially signed their rookie quarterback, Geno Smith. The former West Virginia quarterback agreed to a four- year deal worth around $5 million. Smith was expected to cash in on an even larger payday, but his price tag dropped when the young quarterback fell to the second round during April's NFL draft.
Now, the competition will heat up to see who starts during the week one showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Smith is squaring off with the struggling Mark Sanchez for the spot under center and this quarterback race is an open battle. Both players have to prove their worth and it's unclear who the leader in this competition is. The rookie quarterback seems confident that he can win the job and start Week 1 at the MetLife Stadium.
"I feel like I have a great shot (to win the job," Smith told the Charleston Gazette on Saturday." "I did a pretty good job overall of just adapting to the system and playbook and felt very comfortable with it by the end of OTA's and mandatory."
The young gun slinger had a lot to prove to Rex Ryan and the rest of the coaching staff after a rollercoaster NFL Scouting combine in May. Football pundits labeled Smith as immature and many questioned his work ethic. Smith was projected to be picked in the top-10 but he dropped into the Jets lap at the No. 39 overall pick.
Smith has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons during his first season in the NFL. Reports surfaced during the draft about Smith going home after day, but he chose to stay in New York until he landed with an NFL franchise. Later that week he fired his agents and hired Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports group to represent him. Smith has a strong-headed mentality because he believes he is the best. He not only believes he should've been the first overall pick in the 2013 draft but Smith now believes he is the best quarterback for Gang Green.
The second round pick is suiting up in the No. 7, which was worn by the Jets former star quarterback Boomer Esiason.
Smith has already shown growth by holding private meetings with his offense and by constantly studying the playbook. New York's No. 7 also added some fire to the quarterback contest by declining an invitation to Sanchez's Jets West camp.
Sanchez goes from competing against the veteran Mark Brunell and the mobile quarterback Tim Tebow, to having a rookie breathing down his neck and refusing to concede anything. Fans forget Sanchez has some positive history, including consecutive trips to the AFC Championship Game his first two seasons in the league, but it's been over shadowed by the quarterback's recent struggles with the turnover bug.
Smith is waiting for another hiccup from Sanchez.
"I have one goal in mind and I'm really going to go after that," admitted Smith of challenging Sanchez for the starting job. "I want to be the best. It's going to take time and effort and that's what I'm willing to put in. Once I step on the field it's about business. I'm really appreciative to have made it to this level, but there's a lot more for me out there and I'm going to try and strive for it."