Geno Smith, the Jets 2nd round selection out of the University of West Virginia reportedly signs with Jay Z and his new sports agency Roc Nation. Jay Z announced just last month his intentions to open a sports agency, with New York Yankee second baseman and All-Star Robinson Cano being his first client.
Rap legend Jay Z, who’s real name is Shawn Carter, certainly has the ability to raise the profile of his clients given his credentials as an entertainer. This reportedly wasn’t a factor in Smith’s decision according to Bloomberg.com, however its hard to dismiss the potential marketing benefits of signing with such a major name in the world of entertainment.
Jay Z has connections in many industries which could potentially benefit the rookie quarterback. He is an entrepreneur that has branched himself out far more than your average musician. He owns a clothing line, Rocawear as well as part of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, as well as a recording studio Roc-A-Fella Records. These potentially could provide an avenue for the young quarterback to become a company spokesman or earn sponsorships, something many athletes desire today.
Smith insists this wasn’t his focus in selecting his agent, and that he reached his decision because it was something he as well as his family was comfortable with. He refutes claims that he is doing this only to make himself more marketable to sponsors by saying “‘It’s not that important to me, honestly, the only thing that’s important to me is the image that’s perceived around this locker room, the guy I am to my teammates, to my coaches and the work I put in on the football field. I’m all about football.”
Geno Smith won’t be working directly with Jay Z as his agent, rather recently hired Kim Miale will take on her first NFL client as she becomes Smith’s direct agent. Smith insists he wasn’t attempting to emerge in the spotlight with this decision, and that he will “just remain humble and keep focusing on football” (FOX Sports).
The Rookie out of West Virginia is the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award according to odds makers in Las Vegas, a testament to his skills despite his second round draft status. He was anticipated to be a top ten selection in this years draft before falling all the way to the second round. A prolific player at West Virginia, he struggled towards the end of the season, perhaps hurting his stock. Critics of Smith point out that he relied heavily on short throws, and has questions with his accuracy which could override the benefits of being a mobile passer against NFL competition.
Winning the starting job in training camp is not out of the question, and many expect him to beat out incumbent Mark Sanchez, who has struggled mightily the past two seasons, accounting for an astonishing 52 turnovers. Sanchez has fallen out of favor with Jets fans and the media alike, with fans eager to see a replacement put in place. If Smith proves able to quickly pick up an NFL offense he has a great chance to start come week one of the season.
New York is a high profile city with lots of national attention, and the Jets are a proud franchise looking to bounce back to the playoffs after recent struggles, and if Smith proves able to handle the pressure he has a talented defense that could enable him to reach the same levels of success Sanchez achieved in his rookie year when he reached lead the team to the AFC Championship game.
By: Charlie Gille
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
The Guardian Express
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