After 6 seasons in the NFL and ~3 significant ones, ex-Giant [WR] Steve Smith announced his retirement today at the age of 28. After leaving New York, Smith played for Philadelphia for one year, St. Louis for one year, and had signed with Tampa Bay this year before deciding to hang up the cleats.
The reason this is interesting is because back in the ’09 season, Smith finished 2nd in the NFL with 107 catches, which netted 1220 yards and 7 touchdowns. The following season, he was in a contract year and having similar success early on. Reportedly, Smith had rejected a 5-year, $35 mil contract offer that guaranteed $15 mil. Then he tore his ACL. Offer was revoked, and the Giants let Smith walk away at season’s end for a seemingly low price; he went to Philly on a 1-year deal for approx. $2 mil, and there was an uproar from Giants fans that we let a star go to a rival for a fraction of his worth. As it turns out, and as usual, NYG knew exactly what it was doing.
Smith only played 9 games for Philadelphia, and only started 1 time. He accumulated a mere 124 yards on 11 catches, one of which was a TD and one of which he fumbled (not lost). The Eagles let him walk after the season, and he then signed a minimum 1-year deal with St. Louis. Despite a considerably weaker [WR] corps on the Rams, Smith had nearly identical success (or lack thereof) — 9G, 2 started, 14 catches, 131 yards, 0 TD — and again was allowed to walk. And now we’re here, with Smith deciding to retire after a tragically shortened career, and having $12 mil less in the bank than if he accepted the NYG offer in 2010. You can now add him to the long list of players who’ve failed to find success beyond Big Blue.