The Jets still haven't ruled out bringing Geno Smith back to compete for their starting quarterback job next season. But the Giants may be taking a shot at him first.
Smith, the former Jets second-round pick, is making a free agent visit across town to the Giants on Saturday afternoon, an NFL source confirmed. The Giants are in the market for a backup to Eli Manning, with both Josh Johnson and Ryan Nassib currently unrestricted free agents.
A big part of the visit, according to one source, is so the Giants can get a sense for where the 26-year-old Smith is in his recovery from the torn ACL he suffered last October in his lone start last season with the Jets. In a recent interview with NFL Network, Smith said he was on track to be ready for the start of training camp in July, but likely wouldn't be ready for football activities before that.
The Giants also want to know how interested he is in being a backup. He was a starter with the Jets in each of his first two seasons and was tabbed as the starter heading into his third year before the infamous locker room fight that left him with a broken jaw. The Jets even turned back to him as their starter after Ryan Fitzpatrick faltered last season, before Smith tore his ACL.
Smith, in that NFL Network interview, said he's "open" to being a backup. But he also added "That's not my goal. I was brought into this league … to be a certain caliber of player and being injured for two years has kind of taken that away from me."
He is almost certainly not going to get a chance to be a starter with the Giants, though. Manning hasn't missed a start since he was named the Giants starter midway through his rookie season, and he hasn't missed a game in his entire 13-year career.
The Jets would seem to be a much better landing spot for Smith, if he's intent on reestablishing his value as a starting quarterback. They are in the market for a veteran starter to play in front of their young tandem of Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty, and their options on the free-agent market are dwindling. A team source said they have not ruled out a reunion with Smith.
A source close to Smith, though, said he'd prefer to explore other options, especially if he can find a team that will let him compete for a starting job.