After Jets head coach Rex Ryan announced that Austin Howard had supplanted the incumbent Wayne Hunter at the right tackle position, he said he was ‘excited’ for Hunter’s new role with the offense. His new role was supposed to be the team’s sixth lineman and exclusive jumbo tight end.
“The more I went back and looked at where we are at as a football team and getting feedback from coaches and knowing the history of Wayne, the success that Wayne had basically as a sixth man, I have decided that is the way we are going to go,” Ryan said last Thursday.
Hunter, a consummate professional, handled the criticism in stride.
“Everybody knows, the whole New York City knows that I’ve been struggling the last year and the last game I didn’t do much better. So, I wasn’t surprised. I was waiting for it to be honest with you. I knew I was struggling. Everything was kind of going south for me, but at the same time I still wanted to help the team in any way possible. I love the Jets. I love this organization,” Hunter said.
Just four days after he announced Hunter’s new role, it appears the veteran offensive lineman has a new role … with another team. It has been reported that the New York Jets have traded Hunter for former 2009 number two overall draft pick, right tackle Jason Smith from the St. Louis Rams.
The move comes a week after Hunter, who was due to make $2.5 million this season, had a forgettable performance against the New York Giants, allowing 2.5 sacks on the night.
Smith, a former standout from Baylor University, had underachieved in his three seasons in St. Louis. Prior to this season he had agreed to a sixty percent pay cut to $4 million a year. In 2010 he was beaten out for the starting right tackle position by then-rookie Rodger Saffold. During his rookie campaign, Smith suffered a serious concussion in mid-November. He would miss the remainder of the season. Smith called the situation “real serious”.
Prior to his senior year at Baylor, Smith graduated a year early from the school in May 2008, having graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree in recreation. As a senior in 2008 he was an All-American selection and a All-Big 12 Conference selection as well. Smith was named Baylor’s co-Most Valuable Player. He was credited by the school with 96 knockdown blocks, which were the most ever by a Baylor offensive lineman. Smith gave up 3½ sacks and was penalized five times.
At the 2009 NFL Combine, Smith recorded the 11th-fastest 40-yard dash (5.09 seconds), tied for the fourth-most repetitions in the bench press (33), and was sixth in the three-cone drill (7.53 seconds) among all offensive linemen who participated. He scored a 23 on the Wonderlic test.