Maybe both Geno Smith and Josh Johnson will be on the New York Giants’ 53-man roster when the 2017 season opens in September. Maybe only one of them will still be around. The Giants signed both as backups to Eli Manning, but their inexpensive contracts make it no big deal for the Giants to move on from at least one of them.
In Smith’s case, the Giants guaranteed him $100,000 of a $775,000 base salary on a one-year deal. They also paid him a $200,000 roster bonus on March 22, which was Wednesday. So, they have just $300,000 committed to Smith for 2017. With incentives he could earn $2 million, but the actual commitment for the Giants to bring him in for a look is just a pittance by NFL standards.
Johnson got a two-year deal, but also only $100,000 guaranteed at signing and a $100,000 roster bonus.
Working against Smith this spring is the reported expectation that he is likely to be limited as he recovers from surgery to repair a torn ACL.
The 26-year-old Smith has undeniable physical tools. In his four years with the New York Jets, though, decision-making on and off the field were issues.
The Giants are hoping to see a more mature Smith, one who perhaps learns as much about how to handle himself off the field and in the locker room from Eli Manning as he does about on-field play.
SB Nation’s Thomas George spoke to at least one Giants coach who said the team was pleasantly surprised when meeting with Smith:
"I’m telling you, we met a different man than what the stories say about him," one Giants coach said. "He was different than we expected. He was very humble. He took responsibility for his mistakes. I don’t think it was just that all that has happened to him was a matter of him now reaching a different level and mindset. It looks to me he is coming out on the other side of some serious torture."
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