Rams trade offensive tackle Smith to Jets

Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Rams tackle Jason Smith takes up his position during a game against the Titans last season. (Jeff Curry ~ Associated Press)

NEW YORK -- The Jets and Rams swapped struggling right tackles as New York acquired Jason Smith from St. Louis for Wayne Hunter on Monday night.

Both the Jets and Kenny Zuckerman, Hunter's agent, confirmed the deal, adding that it was pending physicals today.

Smith was the No. 2 overall pick by the Rams in the 2009 draft but failed to live up to lofty expectations and lost his starting job. Free agent Barry Richardson has started at right tackle all preseason ahead of Smith, who has been plagued by concussion problems and ineffectiveness throughout his career.

Hunter was demoted to the jumbo tight end spot and replaced by Austin Howard last week after struggling in the first two games of the preseason after a rough first year as the Jets' starter at right tackle. The Jets (No. 17) made it clear he was still in their plans for this season when they didn't cut him before the start of free agency and allowed his contract to become guaranteed for $2.45 million.

The Rams thought they had drafted a cornerstone player for their offensive line when they took Smith out of Baylor, signing him to a six-year contract with $33 million in guarantees. But Smith sustained a concussion as a rookie and has been limited to only 29 games in his three seasons.


The Rams also waived wide receiver Danario Alexander, who was among a number of players released to reduce the roster.

Alexander was a star at Missouri but has dealt with numerous knee injuries that reduced his time on the field.

"Oh yeah, there's potential there and there's athletic ability," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "He elevates and catches out of frame and runs well. It's unfortunate, we're disappointed for him that he didn't get a chance.

"But it was out of our control. We had to move on."

In a mild surprise, defensive tackle Trevor Laws was placed on injured reserve with a right patellar tendon issue. Laws, like Alexander, didn't practice much and did not appear in the preseason.

The 304-pound Laws, a former second-round pick of the Eagles in 2008, made one start for Philadelphia in both 2011 and 2010.

The Rams waived kicker Garrett Lindholm, fullback Todd Anderson, linebackers Noah Keller and Alex Hoffman-Ellis, defensive tackle John Gill, tight end Brody Eldridge, wide receivers Charles Gilbert and Brandyn Harvey, offensive lineman Kevin Hughes, offensive tackle Ryan McKee, running backs Calvin Middleton and Nick Schweiger, and long snapper Travis Tripucka.

"Most of the guys were disappointed they didn't get the opportunity they would have liked, but that's just part of the process when you're putting together a new team with a new staff and new systems," Fisher said.

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