PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Torrey Smith was certainly not the best free-agent wide receiver available.
But Smith, coming off a down season, serves a purpose for the Eagles.
The 28-year-old veteran 6’0″, 200 pound wide receiver, who had 4.43 speed coming out of Maryland in 2011, is one of the game’s best deep threats. While Smith is not capable of being any team’s No. 1 wideout, he’s fast, affordable, and carries championship experience.
And the Eagles know him well, as vice president of personnel Joe Douglas and assistant director of player personnel Andy Weidl both spent time with Smith in Baltimore.
So when the Eagles signed Smith to a reported three-year deal worth just $15 million, I wasn’t upset. In fact, I was impressed.
When you hear reports like Robert Woods received $15 million in guaranteed money alone and Pierre Garcon will receive $16 million in year one of his new deal, Smith for a total of $15 million over three seasons (guaranteed money is still unknown) feels like a steal.
Smith has been among the top 11 NFL players in yards per catch in five out of the last six seasons. In 2015, Smith led the NFL averaging 20.1 yards per catch.
Detractors will point to Smith’s abysmal 2016 season, where he caught just 20 balls in 12 games with the 49ers. However, last season, the 49ers went 2-14 under first-year head coach Chip Kelly — who was fired after the season. They switched quarterbacks from Blaine Gabbert to Colin Kaepernick, who completed just 59.2-percent of his passes in 11 starts amid the National Anthem protest controversy thing.
That’s one end of Smith’s production spectrum.
The other end of that spectrum came in 2013 — the year after Baltimore won the Super Bowl — when Smith caught 65 balls for 1,128 yards and four touchdowns averaging 17.4 yards per catch. The following season Smith caught 49 balls for 767 yards and a career-high 11 scores.
We shouldn’t expect the 2016 Smith nor the 2013 Smith playing with the big-arm of Joe Flacco, but a veteran receiver who can stretch the defense and account for about 40/700/5 is certainly in the realm of possibilities.