Geno Smith and Jay-Z may be joining forces.
The West Virginia star and New York Jets draft pick is reportedly talking with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports label for representation, though it’s unclear exactly what role Jay-Z is playing in recruiting Geno Smith.
“The situation becomes complicated by the reality that Jay-Z can directly contact Smith in connection with efforts to recruit Smith as a Roc Nation client for non-football representation,” wrote Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.
Because Jay-Z is not a certified NFLPA agent, he is not allowed to persuade potential clients to sign with a particular NFLPA agent. Smith just completed two days of meetings with potential agents, a group that included not only Roc Nation but heavy hitters like Eugene Parker and Priority Sports.
Reports question whether Geno Smith would be seeking Jay-Z to serve as an agent or something a bit more informal.
“When it comes to understanding how to survive and thrive in New York, it wouldn’t hurt to get (and to heed) advice from Jay-Z,” Florio wrote.
Whether Geno Smith picks Jay-Z or one of the others, he could use some image rehabilitation. Once regarded as the top quarterback in the 2013 NFL draft — and a potential top 5 pick — Smith fell to the second round. Since then reports have labeled him (fairly or not) as lazy and cocky.
A scouting report from Nolan Nawrocki predicted that Geno Smith would “be overdrafted and struggle to produce against NFL defensive complexities [because he] did not show an understanding of concepts on the white board [and is] not a student of the game.”
Much of the criticism aimed toward Geno Smith is based on rumors or speculation. An ESPN report after the first round of the NFL draft said a bitter Smith would not return to New York for round 2, but the report was false. Initial reports of Smith firing his agent painted the quarterback as selfish and impulsive, and that it came because Smith was made at not being a No. 1 overall pick.
The real story was that the representation advised Smith not to play in the Senior Bowl, which NFL followers say hurt Smith’s standing.
If Geno Smith joins Jay-Z, he would join a growing list of athletes to seek representation from the hip-hop mogul. Roc Nation has also signed Yankees star Robinson Cano and New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz.