Steve Smith

Steve Smith Credit: Getty Images

When Steve Smith flew south to the hated Eagles on Wednesday night, the free-agent wide receiver’s departure set off a string of emotions in both fans and his former team. But now the Giants must move ahead without him, which may not be as hard as you think.

In order for them to forget their record-setting pass-catcher, though, they must first survive these three stages of post-Smith depression.

1. Stop whining

When the Giants whacked two locker room leaders in guard Rich Seubert and center Shaun O’Hara on the same day, they proclaimed it business. Now, Smith goes off to greener (monetary) pastures because the Giants low-balled him, and they’re crying betrayal because he didn‘t give his old team a chance to match the offer. Tom Coughlin says he felt like a runner who was still in the locker room when the starter’s gun went off. Smith’s Facebook followers were absolutely abhorrent in wishing him and his family harm. Smith owed the Giants nothing, whether he promised or not. If the Giants valued him that much, they should have sweetened their long-standing offer as soon as Smith balked.

2. Don’t worry

The Eagles are taking the real gamble here. Don’t be surprised if he gets lost in Michael Vick’s shuffle among DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant. Microfracture surgery like Smith’s is still a 50-50 proposition. The Giants said he’d have to miss the first six games, while the Eagles expect he’ll play in the first month. Who’s right? Even if the Eagles hit on that, a question of effectiveness will still hang over him.

3. Find someone else

The Giants have to find another body to go with spectacular playmaker Hakeem Nicks and up-and-comers Mario Manningham and Domenik Hixon. Too late on Jerricho Cotchery, who signed Thursday with Pittsburgh. The retired Randy Moss? Sign him and Coughlin might look at the Plaxico Burress era as “the good old days.” First-year player Victor Cruz and veteran returner Darius Reynaud are rostered possibilities.

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