EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Geno Smith is back in the NFL.
Smith completed a remarkable comeback from major knee surgery last season and his subsequent release by the Jets after an inconsistent tenure. He made the New York Giants’ roster as Eli Manning’s backup. At least for now.
The 26-year-old Smith edged fellow veteran Josh Johnson for the No. 2 spot, with third-round draft pick Davis Webb waiting in the wings.
The decision was one of several tough ones Saturday for coach Ben McAdoo.
In other choices, McAdoo selected rookie placekicker Aldrick Rosas over veteran Mike Nugent; waived tight end Will Tye, who started 10 games last season; and placed veteran linebacker Mark Herzlich on injured reserve.
Coming off an 11-5 season that got it into the playoffs for the first time since 2011, New York also acquired cornerback Ross Cockrell from the Steelers on Saturday for a conditional draft pick next year. That move probably cost first-year player Donte Deayon a spot on the roster after a good camp.
The Giants also released running back Shaun Draughn, and defensive end Devin Taylor, plus the team’s 2017 sixth-round draft choice, tackle Adam Bisnowaty.
One of the biggest surprises was the decision to cut receiver Travis Rudolph, a free agent from Florida State who became a feel-good story for overcoming the tragic death of his father in a shooting before the draft, then coming to camp and making play after play. His nine catches in the preseason were second on the team and his 17.4 yard average was the best.
Rudolph, who got recognition in college for having lunch with an autistic student, lost a spot to holdover receivers Roger Lewis Jr. and Tavarres King, who battled ankle injuries in camp.
The backup quarterback battle got the most attention in training camp and Smith and Johnson played well in the preseason finale against the Patriots on Thursday.
Smith, who blew out his knee in his only start last season with the Jets, finished the preseason 36 of 54 for 355 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Johnson, one of three quarterbacks on the roster last year along with Manning and Ryan Nassib, was 22 of 34 for 239 yards and a touchdown.
“It was a close call,” McAdoo said. “Both men earned an opportunity and can play in this league. We wish Josh the best and thanked him for everything he’s done for us.”
Tye fell out of favor after the Giants drafted Evan Engram on the first round and signed Rhett Ellison as a free agent.
Neither Rosas nor Nugent missed a field goal attempt in the preseason games, but the 22-year-old Rosas is 13 years younger.
Herzlich, one of four players remaining from the team that beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl in February 2012, missed the last few weeks with a stinger. The 30-year-old Herzlich has played mostly special teams in recent seasons.
Cockrell started all 19 regular-season and postseason games for the Steelers last season. The 25-year-old became expendable when Pittsburgh signed Joe Haden after his release by the Browns earlier this week.
Defensive tackle Josh Banks (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve.