- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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"I feel like I have a great shot," he told the Charleston Gazette on Saturday during an autograph-signing appearance in West Virginia, where he starred for three seasons. "I did a pretty good job overall of just adapting to the system and playbook and felt very comfortable with it by the end of OTAs and mandatory camp."
Smith added: "I'm prepared. I'm just getting better daily. I've improved so much from the time the [Pinstripe Bowl] ended to now. I continue to improve steadily."
Sanchez outplayed Smith in the offseason, as you'd expect in a veteran-versus-rookie situation. Both Rex Ryan and quarterbacks coach David Lee indicated that Smith struggled at times with the new system, but they expressed hope that he'd have a better grasp of it in training camp.
"I have a goal in mind and I'm really going to go after that," Smith told the newspaper. "I want to be the best. It's going to take time and effort and that's what I'm willing to put in. Once I step on the field it's about business. I'm really appreciative to have made it to this level, but there's a lot more for me out there and I'm going to try and strive for it."
First he has to sign a contract. As of Sunday evening, Smith, CB Dee Milliner and DT Sheldon Richardson still were unsigned. Rookies are due to report Monday and the team leaves for Cortland on Thursday. The first practice is Friday.
Smith will receive a four-year deal for about $5 million, based on the rookie wage scale, but he'd like more guaranteed money than a player in his slot (39th overall) would usually receive, according to a source. He's basing that on the contracts Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton, both second-round quarterbacks, signed in 2011.
For a detailed explanation on the Smith, Milliner and Richardson negotiations, including how offset language is holding up the Milliner and Richardson deals, check out our post from Wednesday.