General manager John Idzik made that clear during the team's end-of-season news conference.
Smith won the starting job in training camp by default after Mark Sanchez suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the team's third preseason game. Smith started in all 16 games in his rookie campaign, finishing with 3,046 passing yards, 12 touchdown passes, 21 interceptions and a 66.5 passer rating. He added six rushing touchdowns.
"He's a very resilient young man," Idzik said of Smith. "For him to start all 16 games, go through the highs and lows of an NFL season and just to see him develop as a player, see him handle a game, see him be more efficient in the pocket, his accuracy, threatening with his legs, all of the things that he did, they were very positive."
The Jets' quarterback depth chart will look very different in a few months. Sanchez almost certainly will be gone. Ditto for David Garrard. Signing a veteran quarterback who will challenge Smith this summer makes the most sense, a move that also will free up Idzik to use the draft to address the dearth of playmakers on offense.