The free-agency period has been good one way or another for every NFL team. Hence, it’s time to take a look at the positives in our newest series for End Zone Score. Which newcomer to the club was the franchise’s best offseason move and why? We are getting things started with the 2016 last-place teams in the eight divisions. We have already previewed the New York Jets and now the Philadelphia Eagles are in the spotlight.
WR Torrey Smith
No one needs to remind football fans how truly inept the San Francisco 49ers were this past season. There were issues on both sides of scrimmage and the team ranked dead last in the NFL in passing yards per game in ’16. Quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick (16) and Blaine Gabbert (5) combined for 21 touchdown passes. Tight end Vance McDonald led the club with a mere four scoring receptions.
Wideout Torrey Smith played in only 12 games this past year and caught just 20 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. But the six-year pro remains one of the best deep threats in the game. During his career with the Baltimore Ravens and Niners, he’s amassed 266 grabs for 4,521 yards and 37 scores. He’s averaged an impressive 17.0 yards per reception for his career.
This past season, the Birds from the City of Brotherly Love didn’t fly very far. As a team, they averaged only 10.0 yards per catch. Jordan Matthews is the team’s most reliable wideout but not a stretch-the-field type of receiver. Youngsters such as Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham can get deep but lack consistency. The addition of Smith will open things up downfield and give quarterback Carson Wentz a big-play threat.
Now factor in the team’s offseason addition of Alshon Jeffery. The former Pro Bowler with the Chicago Bears certainly missed former teammate Brandon Marshall in the Windy City the past two seasons. Now paired with Smith, Matthews and the others, you could see him get back on track.
All told, Torrey Smith gives Wentz, head coach Doug Pederson and the Philadelphia Eagles offense something they sorely lacked in 2016.