Rich Cimini: Brad Smith to the Bills

By Alan Schechter

Courtesy of Rich Cimini of ESPN New York, it appears that the Jets have taken their first significant loss of the free agency period.  Although as we know, the contracts are not official until the signing period begins on Friday at 6 PM, but according to league sources, all everything player Brad Smith has signed a 4 year $15 million deal with division rival Buffalo Bills.

Sources are saying that the Jets never made an offer for Smith, due in part to salary cap considerations, and the heavy play they are making for Nnamdi Asomugha.  The Jets wanted to wait it out and see what happened with that situation, and Brad didn’t want to wait, so off he goes.

“Everything with the Jets was contingent on whether they got Nnamdi,” Smith said in an e-mail to “(I’m) very excited about the opportunity to join the Bills and play for Coach (Chan) Gailey.”

Smith did it all, he ran the Wildcat offense, covered kicks, rushed for a career high 299 yards last year, and ran back kickoffs, including 2 for TDs last year.

Smith’s signature game came last Thanksgiving, when he compiled 200 all-purpose yards in a win over the Bengals. He scored on a 53-yard run and a 89-yard kickoff return, becoming only the third player in NFL history to score on a rush and a kickoff return of at least 50 and 80 yards, respectively, in the same game.  In five years with Gang Green, Brad amassed more than 3,300 all purpose yards.  He will be missed.

The special teams impact may be not as large as expected though.  Remember, there was a big rule change on the kickoffs.  In order to have kickoff plays be much safer, they have moved the kickoff from the 30 yard line to the 35 yard line.  There will be many more touchbacks to come with the rule change, so the impact returner will have less of an impact than previously.

It does create a hole, with Brad out the door, and likely Braylon Edwards following him, at WR.  Stay tuned, Mike Tannenbaum always has something up his sleeves.