If the New York Giants are unwilling, or unable, to sign cornerback Prince Amukamara to a long-term contract they will need to find a quality replacement. Josh Norman probably isn't getting away from the Carolina Panthers, and he and Odell Beckham probably wouldn't make the best teammates, anyway. Most analysts consider Sean Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs the best corner who may actually be available, so let's see if Smith is a viable possibility for the Giants.
Smith, who turns 29 in July, was a 2009 first-round pick by the Miami Dolphins. He was a starter for four years there, and for the last three with the Chiefs. At 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, he is a big, physical corner.
Since joining the Chiefs in 2013, Smith has earned positive coverage and overall grades in each of his three seasons. His 2014 campaign was his most impressive, as he earned the second-highest coverage grade among cornerbacks while he also avoided being penalized a single time all seasonâa remarkable feat these days, given how often flags are thrown for coverage penalties. Smith is not an elite corner, but he has proven over the last two seasons that he is a solid No. 1 cornerback.
What do Chiefs fans think of Smith? Well, if you have a little time settle in and give this lengthy, thorough piece from SB Nation's Arrowhead Pride a read to get the answer.
In a post listing a bold move for every NFC East team, ESPN suggests the Giants sign Smith:
Big Blue's defense is among the bleakest units in the league. The Giants, who finished 30th in defensive DVOA last season, don't have a single defender under contract who they drafted before 2013. J.T. Thomas and Jonathan Casillas currently own the unit's second- and third-highest cap hits for 2016, respectively, yet neither played even 60 percent of New York's defensive snaps last year.
General manager Jerry Reese will have nearly $60 million in cap space to work with this offseason, but most of the top defensive free agents are either surefire franchise tag candidates or over-age-30 veterans. However, cornerback Smith could feasibly leave Kansas City, given that the Chiefs need to address four other defensive starters hitting free agency. The 28-year-old Smith would make for a nice tandem with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, giving the Giants a pair of big (both 6-foot-2 or taller) man-coverage boundary corners.
Cornerback salaries have boomed in recent years, and as arguably the top corner on the market -- assuming Josh Norman is franchise-tagged as expected -- Smith could demand an annual average salary similar to Byron Maxwell's $10.5 million per year deal from last spring. Still, if the Giants are going to spend, they might as well fix the unit that needs the most fixing.
Over The Cap predicts a four-year, $36-40 million contract for Smith. Personally, I'm leery of giving that kind of money to a corner who will be 30 in the second year of the deal. Even though Smith has never missed a game due to injury -- he missed three last season due to suspension -- that seems like a risk.
Is Smith a player you would like to see the Giants target should Amukamara find a new home?