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Sunday, May 26, 2013
Sunday notes: Geno sends mixed message

By Rich Cimini

A check on the Jets and the rest of the NFL:

1. Geno and Jay-Z: If perception is reality, Geno Smith made life harder for himself by hiring Jay-Z's fledgling Roc Nation Sports agency to represent him. Fair or not, it sends the message that he's concerned about show biz and marketing. That's not a bad thing if you're Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, an established star who took the Jay-Z plunge, but Smith is a rookie with no guarantee he'll be the opening-day starter. He should focus on being a football player, not a brand, working hard to craft an image that conveys that message.

If Smith plays well for the Jets, it won't matter if Lindsay Lohan is his agent; no one would care. But if the former West Virginia star doesn't meet expectations, he'll leave himself open to criticism. Maybe he has thick skin and it won't matter. Or maybe he set himself up for a rude New York experience. Considering the recent dings to his reputation, he should stay away from flashy. He should take the Mark Sanchez approach. After being drafted fifth overall in 2009, Sanchez and his reps decided to lay low for a year, turning down endorsement opportunities. Maybe Roc Nation will take a conservative approach with Smith; we'll see. He has a tremendous opportunity with the Jets. He should to pick it up in the classroom and worry about One Jets Drive, not Madison Avenue.

1.b. Protecting its turf: The NFLPA is investigating Jay-Z's role in Smith's recruitment by Roc Nation for a possible violation of the "runner" rule, NFL.com reported. By rule, non-agents (Jay-Z isn't certified) aren't allowed to recruit athletes for agencies. Kimberly Miale, a certified agent, was just hired by Roc Nation to rep Smith in contract negotiations. Jay-Z is so popular that his arrival in the business was bound to ruffle some feathers.

2. Glass half-full: Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg told me that Sanchez's "completion percentage and accuracy percentage have been sky high up to date." (In Mornhinweg's grading system, he considers them separate categories.) He told me that Wednesday afternoon -- after Sanchez's three-interception stinker in practice. I kid you not.

Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith
Geno Smith should focus more on his QB competition with Mark Sanchez than endorsements.
3. Truth, Justice and the Jet Way: GM John Idzik is taking some heat for the way he's handling the Mike Goodson situation. When fringe players Cliff Harris and Claude Davis were arrested last month for possession of marijuana, in a car that included a loaded handgun (owned by a third party), they were cut immediately. Goodson was arrested on gun and drug charges, yet he remains on the team. On Tuesday, he's expected to return to practice. Double standard? You bet. But does that make it wrong? No. Idzik is handling it the right way. His charge is to do what's in the best interest of the team. In this case, the best interest is served by allowing the legal process to play out. It makes no sense to cut a $2.3 million-a-year player to simply send a message. Bill Parcells always used to say all players aren't created equal. He was right.

4. Fantasy Island: Bucs GM Mark Dominik told the NFL Network that he started thinking about the possibility of a Darrelle Revis trade as soon as the star cornerback went down with a season-ending knee injury. "Because I knew what his contract situation was, and so when he hurt his knee, I thought, 'That’s going to be an out possibility,'" Dominik said. The handwriting was on the wall: The Jets-Revis relationship, already toxic, would never produce another contract, especially not with the complication of an injury.

5. Money matters: The Panthers last week signed first-round DT Star Lotulelei, the 14th overall pick, to a four-year, $9.604 million contract, fully guaranteed. Therefore, it shouldn't take much longer for the Jets to hammer out a deal with DT Sheldon Richardson, the 13th pick. Richardson, CB Dee Milliner (No. 9 overall) and Smith (No. 39) are their only unsigned draft picks.

6. Chasing a ghost: Funniest item of the week -- an unnamed Jets player allegedly telling another media outlet that 80 to 90 percent of the team doesn't want Sanchez as the starting quarterback. I didn't realize there were voting booths in the players' meeting rooms.

7. A Cup of Joe: I respect Joe Namath's opinion, but I have to disagree with his statement that the Jets didn't need to draft Smith. Tell me, what's wrong with a quarterback-needy team picking the best quarterback in the draft (by most accounts) in the second round? Key words: Second round, not first round. It won't be a significant investment -- about $5 million over four years. If Smith doesn't impress as a rookie, the Jets can turn around and select another quarterback in 2014.

8. Super-sized rookie: The Rams signed an undrafted free agent named Terrell Brown, a 6-foot-10, 403-yard offensive lineman Ole Miss. I'm dating myself here, but it brings back memories of Albert Goss, the Jets' 12th-round pick in 1988. He was 6-foot-7, 348 pounds, a defensive tackle from Jackson State. Actually, that was his draft weight; he was 365 when he showed up for training camp. He was cut on the first day, as soon as he stepped off the scale. And so ended the career of Albert Goss.

9. Relax, coach: Someone needs to tell Tom Coughlin that OTA practices are voluntary. Commenting on Hakeem Nicks' absence the other day, the Giants' coach said, "He should be here. I expect everybody here."

10. May Day: Maybe you heard, the draft is moving to May 15-17 next year. To me, this is all about dollars. The month of May happens to be a TV sweeps month. Pushing it back three weeks also allows the NFL to dominate more of the sports calendar. Also imagine: Three more weeks of draft hype and over-analysis. Good thing Geno Smith came out this year.