The New York Jets waived/injured wide receiver Devin Smith on Monday, the team announced.
Smith suffered a torn ACL for the second time since the Jets drafted him in the second round in 2015.
"It's bad luck and bad timing because the kid worked so hard to get back," head coach Todd Bowles said during the NFL Draft, according to a press release. "He has to persevere and adversity will help him get stronger. But unfortunately in this game, over my course of time playing and coaching, you see these types of things. Some of the best athletes get hurt and don't get a chance to get on the field and it's just bad timing, bad luck."
Smith suffered the injury during the first phase of his offseason workout program. If he clears waivers, he would revert to injured reserve. Another team could claim him and his rookie contract for the 2018 season, according to NJ.com's Connor Hughes.
The 25-year-old Ohio State product played just 14 games over the past two years, recording 10 catches for 135 yards and one touchdown. He had nine catches for 115 yards and one touchdown in 2015 before tearing his ACL in December 2015. Smith started the 2016 season on the PUP list and appeared in four games.
In a corresponding move, the Jets re-signed wide receiver Deshon Foxx, whom the Jets signed to a reserve/future contract in January and waived on May 9. Foxx, 24, has yet to play in an NFL game since the Seattle Seahawks signed him following the 2015 draft.
This isn't the end for Smith -- at least not yet. But it might come soon.
The Jets' decision to waive him with an injury designation is a procedural move that allows them to protect their rights to the 2015 second-round pick without using one of their training camp roster spots on him. Once he tore his ACL on the first day of the Jets' offseason program in April, his 2017 was over. By doing this, assuming he clears waivers and ends up back on the Jets' injured reserve list on Tuesday, the Jets still own his rights for 2018.
Of course, at this rate, who knows what, if anything, the Jets will ever get out of Smith, whose career has been slammed by bad injury luck? He's due a $1.235 million salary in 2018, which is a big price to pay for a receiver coming off his second torn ACL -- especially when cutting him next March would clear that same amount off their salary cap books.
The Jets have always liked his potential as a big-play threat, but his future hinges on his rehab and if there's enough left in his right knee after two ACL repairs to make him a dangerous deep threat next season. At this rate, it seems doubtful. But at least the Jets can spend the next nine months monitoring his rehab before they have to ultimately decide his fate.