Ben McAdoo: No reason Geno Smith can't be QB of the Giants' future

ByJordan Raanan and Mike Reiss ESPN logo
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

PHOENIX -- The signing of quarterback Geno Smith came at a minimal cost. It comes with a potential large reward in the eyes of the New York Giants as Smith could be the eventual successor to Eli Manning.

Smith signed a one-year deal last week that included little guaranteed money after four tumultuous seasons with the New York Jets. Speaking at the NFL owners meetings Tuesday, Giants coach Ben McAdoo said he still believes something substantial can come from the recent marriage.

"I can't see why not," McAdoo said when asked about Smith being the Giants' long-term replacement for Manning, before conceding they're a long way from that happening.

Manning, 36, has another three years remaining on his contract. But the Giants seem intrigued by Smith's skill set, even after he experienced minimal success as a starter with the Jets. He had a 12-18 record and threw 28 touchdowns compared to 38 interceptions from 2013 to '17.

The way the Giants look at it, they added one of the best attainable young quarterbacks on the market. That is in part because this isn't believed to be one of the stronger QB classes in the NFL draft. North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky and Clemson's Deshaun Watson are the only quarterbacks on the big boards of ESPN analysts Mel Kiper Jr.'s and Todd McShay.

Smith, 26, was a second-round pick out of West Virginia in the 2013 NFL draft.

"You study the guys coming out, Geno I think he's right in the mix of one of the better players available this year," McAdoo said.

The Giants have made it clear to Smith that he has been given a clean slate following his struggles with the Jets. Some of the known incidents include having his jaw broken by a teammate's punch, missing a meeting while attending a movie prior to a road game and being pulled off a plane after a dispute over his headphones.

There still is no guaranteed spot for Smith on the roster. That will have to be earned. He will compete with recently re-signed veteran Josh Johnson for the backup spot behind Manning.

McAdoo also said their signings wouldn't preclude the Giants from taking another quarterback in the draft if the right opportunity surfaces.

"I don't think so," he said. "Any time you have a chance to add a good player to the roster, you add him."

But they have hope for Smith, who is not expected to be ready for the start of the offseason program after tearing his ACL during a Week 7 start last season. They see the talent, and the potential for a successful reclamation project.

"I find it very exciting. A guy that has his skill set is hard to find," McAdoo said. "You can't find guys out there that have that type of arm strength, talent, throwing motion and feet to go with it. And he's a competitor. It's exciting to bring a guy and work with a guy like that.

"And you see where you can take him."