Commentary

Steve Smith can wait to get his payday

In the final year of his contract, receiver says if he plays well the money will come

Updated: August 4, 2010, 4:20 AM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The New York Giants' Steve Smith understands how Darrelle Revis feels.

Like the New York Jets' all-world shutdown corner, Smith is coming off his finest season as a pro. And with a potential collective bargaining mess looming, NFL players want to make sure their future is set.

"You can get injured any day," Smith said about Revis' dilemma. "He has made such an impact on the league and on the game, I feel like he deserves to get paid."

Smith has 107 reasons to petition for a new deal of his own. He is coming off the finest season ever by a Giants wide receiver. The 5-foot-11 receiver had 107 receptions for 1,220 yards and seven touchdowns, shattering Amani Toomer's franchise record for receptions of 82.

[+] EnlargeSteve Smith
James Lang/US PresswireWith 107 receptions last year, Steve Smith shattered Amani Toomer's team record.

But while Smith thinks Revis deserves to get Woody Johnson's millions, he won't go the Revis Island route and hold out in Giants camp.

"That is not me," Smith said of holding out. "Me and my agent, we haven't been talking like that. Now if I was to be advised that way, maybe. But I haven't been so we are going about it the way we are."

And that's basically the difference between the Giants and Jets camps so far this summer. While controversy dominates the ongoing HBO soap opera known as the New York Jets, the Giants and Smith go about their business quietly without any drama.

Unlike many other attention-starved receivers around the league, Smith likes to let his play do all the talking. When the Giants were wondering who would replace Plaxico Burress last year, Smith became Eli Manning's security blanket and went to the Pro Bowl.

Now Smith enters the final year on his contract worth a reported $550,000. He is due a big raise but nothing will likely transpire with the collective bargaining agreement unsettled for the 2011 season.

"I don't think it will happen that soon just, because of the collective bargaining agreement," Smith said. "But if it does, it will be a blessing and I will be happy. If it doesn't, I won't be all hurt. I will understand."

Actually, Smith might be hurt a bit if Revis and the Jets don't come to terms. Smith is looking forward to testing himself in the first preseason game -- if only for a limited amount of snaps -- against the best corner in the game.

Through only three days of camp, Smith has gotten his licks in on the Giants' best cornerback, Corey Webster. Smith has beaten Webster three times already on deep routes. During Tuesday's morning practice, Smith wrestled away a deep catch from Webster.

"Steve Smith has continued to grow and develop as an inside receiver, which I think all of us expected," offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. "But he also did a great job when he was outside, which is something I don't think all of us had anticipated. He's just a complete, all-around receiver."

Primarily known for his route running and his consistency catching balls across the middle, Smith was one of the best possession receivers in the league last year. He finished second in the NFL in receptions and led the league in third-down catches with 38.

But he wants to be known for more. Smith wants to be a deep threat, a playmaker. And it looks as though the Giants might be incorporating him more on deep balls early in camp.

While Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham have been nursing minor injuries, Smith has been working on his deep routes.

"We want to stretch the field and it is all going to start with running the ball," Smith said. "Last year we couldn't really run that much so we weren't able to go deep like we wanted to because they were playing back and pressuring us.

"[People] have seen me catch a lot of short stuff over my career. I only get a few plays up top. They haven't really seen too much of it."

Last season, no one knew what to expect out of the Giants' receivers and Smith stepped up. This season, Smith wants to surprise again.

"It is never enough," Smith said. "I don't look at myself like I'm the No. 1 [here]. I look at it like, 'let's go make plays' and that I'm that much better [this year] and I've improved my game."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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