On Monday night, the Jets sent the much-maligned Wayne Hunter to the Rams in exchange for right tackle Jason Smith, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft. In acquiring Smith, the Jets obtain a once highly coveted prospect who was more dud than stud in St. Louis.
Last week, Hunter was demoted from starting right tackle to the team’s jumbo tight end, which is the same role Smith is expected to fill. The trade does nothing to change the status of Austin Howard, who was elevated to the starting right tackle position in place of Hunter and is expected to assume that role in Week 1 of the regular season.
Despite rumors to the contrary, the Jets denied they were looking to shop Hunter and said it was the Rams who reached out about facilitating a trade.
Entering his fourth year in the league, Smith has yet to play a full slate of regular season games, having been consistently hampered by injuries. Last year, Smith was limited to just 10 games due to neck injuries and worries of possible concussions, which have plagued him throughout his career.
Hunter was benched following his preseason debut on Aug. 18 against the Giants when he conceded three sacks in the first half of that game. He remained classy throughout the situation, with Howard crediting Hunter on Saturday night for continuing to mentor him despite Hunter losing the starting position.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.