If you're a New York Jets fan, make a little note on your fridge-sized schedule or put a reminder in your Outlook calendar: A few minutes after halftime of the Week 7 game between the Jets and Patriots this upcoming season, Mark Sanchez will have made a little more than $5 million toward his total cap hit of $12.85 million for 2013. That number is notable for this reason: That $5 million is what Geno Smith is going to make over the four years of rookie deal he'll sign with the Jets -- total.
It won't matter if Smith has Jay-Z or Jay Mohr as his agent -- that total is locked in. At that point, remind those who think drafting Smith was a mistake, or not a big need -- as Joe Namath stated this week -- that what the Jets will pay Sanchez for nearly 50 percent of what should be his last, lame-duck season, they'll likely pay Smith on the entirety of his first contract. This means that at its highest point, Smith's first deal will never represent a cap hit of even 2 percent of the Jets total salary cap.
And whether Smith ever becomes a great player, a good player, or merely a quality backup, New York's decision to draft him where it did was a smart one. Maybe he wasn't a "need" by the technical standards of Namath's definition -- yes, Sanchez is available to start football games. Namath and so many suffering Jets fans have been exposed to so much lunacy in decision-making at the QB position that it's easy to forget that smart franchises don't find the best QB value when it's a huge need -- they find it and have the chance to develop a player when it's not.
The decision on Smith, and New York's draft strategy as a whole, actually makes a lot of sense, and there a number of reasons why. Here are five: