|Hunter will be reunited with former Jets' OC Brian Schottenheimer in St. Louis; Smith's headed to New York. (US Presswire)|
Last week, mercifully, Jets coach Rex Ryan benched right tackle Wayne Hunter, whose inability to slow up would-be pass-rushers was so bad that the unflappable Tim Tebow became visibly agitated. Ryan installed Austin Howard into Hunter's spot and the former undrafted free agent looked more like a first-round pick against the Panthers Sunday night.
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So while this development must have offered some relief to Ryan and new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, the organization wouldn't be happy until Hunter was off the roster altogether. Monday night, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora confirmed an ESPN report that the Jets and Rams were finalizing a trade that involved St. Louis tackle Jason Smith and Hunter. And CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman later reported that it was a done deal.
Smith was taken second overall in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Rams but concussions and other injuries have seen him play in just 29 of a possible 48 games during his three-year career. This preseason, he was battling free-agent acquisition Barry Richardson for playing time, a not-so-subtle sign that he had fallen out of favor with the Rams' new regime led by coach Jeff Fisher. Still, despite working with the second team, Smith sounded upbeat.
“Everything that's happening to me as far as, I think the word is demoted, to the twos or not working with the first string that's just great,” he told the Associated Press earlier this month. “I needed to earn the job. I needed to be accountable when I'm on the field and in the huddle.”
Now Smith will get the opportunity to be held accountable in the NFL's fishbowl: New York.
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