Philadelphia Eagles: Torrey Smith Will Help Vertical Passing Game

March 9, 2017
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The Philadelphia Eagles signed wide receiver Torrey Smith, who will help their vertical passing game.

It’s official, the Philadelphia Eagles have signed former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith to a three-year, $15 million deal. Smith has played his last two seasons in San Francisco but has underperformed.

Smith enters his seventh NFL season averaging 17.0 yards per reception, which is the stat that most likely drove the Eagles to sign him. After drafting quarterback Carson Wentz in the 2016 NFL Draft the Eagles quickly found out that they are lacking the necessary weapons in the passing game.

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One of Wentz’s best aspects of his game is his ability to throw the ball deep down the field, but his pass catchers hindered that ability. Philadelphia did not have a receiver who could stretch the field and that was a priority heading into the 2017 offseason. Wentz seemed to like the move and tweeted to Smith after the move was announced.

Pro Football Focus had Smith ranked as the 114th wide receiver last season, one above the Eagles’ 2015 first-round pick Nelson Agholor. So, this signing is questionable and may not be an upgrade, but the Eagles are betting that Smith’s time in San Francisco was an outlier.

Philadelphia signed Smith with the thought that he will be able to stretch the field and help their vertical passing game, and he will. Smith may not be the big name guy Eagles fans wanted, but he is a legitimate deep threat wide receiver and for a cheap price. As Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation pointed out, Smith is currently second among active players with his 17.0 yards per catch, .7 yards behind DeSean Jackson.

Another aspect of the signing that should allow Eagles fans to breathe easy is the fact that Joe Douglas, the Eagles VP of Player Personnel, is very familiar with Smith from their days together in Baltimore.

It is likely that the Eagles will still add another wide receiver, preferably someone to be their No. 1 target. Smith will plug in nicely to a receiver core that lacks big play ability. He may not get back to the 1,128 yards like he did in 2013 or the 11 touchdowns he scored in 2014, but Smith will definitely stick around his 17.0 yards per reception.

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He will always be a threat to catch a deep ball from Wentz and will add a dynamic that the Eagles offense has missed since DeSean Jackson was released. The thought of him making a big play and stretching the field is exactly why the Eagles decided to sign him. And Smith knows that Wentz has the arm to get him the ball, making this a perfect fit for both sides.

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