After enduring two seasons in San Francisco, Torrey Smith lands in Philadelphia

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Thursday March 9th, 2017

Torrey Smith didn’t really work out in San Francisco the past two seasons, but ... well, who did? Still just 28 years old, Smith will take a shot at redemption in Philadelphia, where he will ink a three-year, $15 million deal, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport.

Dragged down by the slop that was San Francisco’s QB situation, Smith managed just 53 combined catches in 2015–16. But somehow, he lead the league in yards per reception during his first year with the 49ers, posting a 20.1 mark.

That deep ability always has been his M.O.—before arriving in the Bay area, he averaged nearly 900 yards per year and caught 30 TDs during four seasons in Baltimore, as Joe Flacco’s downfield safety net. Those stats are on top of the plethora of pass interference flags Smith drew.

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Smith’s flop in San Francisco played right into Philadelphia’s hands this off-season. The Eagles could be looking to add multiple receivers in the coming months, but at the top of that list was someone capable of stretching the field vertically. Among the players with double-digit catches for the Eagles last year, none averaged better than 11.0 yards.

The inability to hit over the top made life harder on QB Carson Wentz, as well as on his intermediate options like TE Zach Ertz and WR Jordan Matthews. Smith forces defenses to account for him on the outside, often with safety help over the top, which in turn should clear space for those other targets.

And at $5 million per year (no guaranteed money numbers have been released, as of the time of this post), Smith is a bargain.

“We’re trying to build a complementary roster around the people that we have,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman said last week. “Certainly, that fits with our QB and what he’s good at, and our coaching staff and what they’re looking for.”

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Wentz entered the NFL gifted with the arm to drive the ball downfield, he just didn’t have anyone he could rely on to go get those passes last season. He does now, provided Smith is still capable of being the player he was prior to his ill-fated San Francisco stop.

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