Remember that trade that took place late in the preseason between the St. Louis Rams and New York Jets where the two teams swapped much maligned tackles Wayne Hunter and Jason Smith? Yeah, well you can forget about that now. Both are officially out of work.
It seemed like it would only be a matter of time, but back when the Rams dealt Smith for Hunter, the deal was really a last chance of sorts for both embattled players. Hunter had been ridiculed and relentlessly booed in New York while Smith, a former number two overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, had been relegated to water boy essentially for the Rams.
What the experiment had hoped to trigger was a newfound sense of desire and work ethic in both players in order to get the most out of them. Sometimes a change of scenery is exactly what a player needs to realize that this really is their last chance to make an impact. Unfortunately for these two, not even that old psychological trial did the trick.
This move comes as no surprise as the Rams were expected to severe ties with Hunter in order to free up some $4 million in salary cap space. With the club also rumored to be interested in pursuing soon to be free agent tackle Jake Long beginning March 12, this transaction free up some much needed space to make that happen.
As for these two players now out of work, it is going to be difficult for either to find another gig. Hunter may be down to veteran minimum reserve role at 31 years of age, but Smith could latch on somewhere desperate for offensive line help and still optimistic about his potential at just 26 years old. Clearly he will never live up to the status of being the second overall selection just four years ago, but Smith could still salvage his career as a serviceable player if he can find the right situation.