Wide receiver Steve Smith stunned the New York Giants today, signing a free-agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. Smith, who set the Giants' all-time single season receptions record with 107 in 2009, had been expected to return to the Giants when he healed from microfracture knee surgery.
Instead, he landed with the NFC East rival Eagles on a one-year deal reported to be worth $4.2 million, with a $2 million guarantee.
Smith, an avid social media user, took quickly to his Facebook page, saying "This was obviously not an easy decision for me or something i ever expected but unfortunately the business aspect proved that the eagles wanted me to be part of their organization MUCH more than the Giants did."
Smith had 220 receptions in his four years with the Giants. He joins an Eagles team that has already added Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Ronnie Brown, Vince Young and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie since the NFL Lockout ended.
Smith apparently told reporters he did not believe the Giants could match the $2 million guarantee. After Smith was checked out by Giants team doctors earlier this week there also appears to be some disagreement over how soon Smith, who is not expected to be ready when the season begins, will actually be able to play.
Asked about Smith Wednesday morning, Giants coach Tom Coughlin said, "It's going to be a long haul for him," and, "He's got a ways to go."In Smith's mind, he continues to feel that it "Could be Week 1."
The Eagles are, of course, thrilled to have stolen Smith from the Giants.
"Like I've said many times before, Howie Roseman and I are always keeping our eyes open for good football players and players that we think can help our football team win," said head coach Andy Reid. "And Steve Smith certainly fits that category. He's a Pro Bowl quality receiver that we will work into our offense as soon as he is ready to go. We feel very good about our current group of receivers and Steve adds another dimension to that position. He's played very well against us in the past few years and we're happy to have him on board."