Super Bowl starting OT wants to play for hometown NY Jets in 2024

Donovan Smith grew up a Jets fan
Donovan Smith grew up a NY Jets fan
Donovan Smith grew up a NY Jets fan / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets will be in the market for offensive line help this offseason, and they might find it in the form of a current Super Bowl starting left tackle. Donovan Smith wants to sign with the Jets this offseason.

At least, that was the indication he gave when speaking with Brian Costello of the New York Post on Thursday. Smith, who is from Hempstead on Long Island and grew up a Jets fan, said it would be a "dream" to play for his hometown team.

Smith is just days away from his second Super Bowl start, this time as the Kansas City Chiefs left tackle. He's made over 130 career starts over nine years in the NFL and is set to be a free agent this offseason.

Smith signed a meager one-year, $3 million contract to join the Chiefs this past spring. He started a career-low 12 games in 2023 and was hampered by injuries. Still, Smith would love to have an opportunity to play for the Jets in the near future.

"I’m a take-it-as-it-comes kind of guy, and I’m where my feet are right now, obviously, for this game. But at the end of the day, it’s my life, my career, and I’ve got to figure it out. I grew up a Jets fan. I’m from New York, so that would definitely be something I would appreciate before my career ends."

Donovan Smith

Should the NY Jets sign Long Island native Donovan Smith?

The Jets will undoubtedly be looking for offensive line reinforcements this offseason, and it would be a wholesome, heart-warming story to see Smith sign with his childhood favorite team. That said, it might not be the best business move for the Jets.

Smith has been a below-average starter at best over the last two seasons in Kansas City. The longtime Tampa Bay Buccaneers left tackle has earned consecutive Pro Football Focus grades below 60.0, ranking 66th and 66th and 61st among 81 qualified tackles in each of the last two years.

Smith has frequently ranked among the league leaders in penalties. He hasn't finished a season with fewer than nine penalties since 2018. His 8.3 percent pressure rate ranked a lowly 68th out of 83 qualified tackles in 2023.

Smith has the name value and Super Bowl pedigree that will garner interest. His hometown hero story would also be a fun, heartwarming narrative to follow. Unfortunately, the Jets could probably do better as far as their starting tackles in 2024 are concerned.

If Smith is willing to sign with the Jets as a backup, perhaps the two sides can work something out. It should be noted, however, that Smith has never played a snap in the NFL at any position other than left tackle. He's not your prototypical swing tackle — he's essentially another Duane Brown.

Donovan Smith wants to sign with his hometown Jets, but it's probably best if the team goes in a different direction.