Torrey Smith to Panthers a bargain compared to other free-agent WR deals

From ESPN - March 14, 2018

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The $5 million a year that wide receiver Torrey Smith will count against the salary cap seemed like a lot on Friday when the Carolina Panthers traded starting cornerback Daryl Worley to Philadelphia for him.

Particularly when you consider Smith had not caught more than 36 passes in any of the past three seasons between San Francisco and Philadelphia.

It looks like a bargain now when you look at the deals top free-agent wide receivers who have accomplished less got in free agency.

Chicago gave Jacksonville's Allen Robinson, coming off an ACL injury, a three-year, $42 million deal. He has 202 catches for 2,848 yards and 22 touchdowns since being selected in the second round of the 2014 draft.

Kansas City gave Sammy Watkins a three-year, $48 million deal with $30 million guaranteed. The former Clemson star had 39 catches for 593 yards and eight touchdowns last season and has caught only 67 passes combined the past two seasons between Buffalo and the Los Angeles Rams.

Washington gave Paul Richardson a five-year deal that could be worth up to $40 million with $20 million guaranteed. Richardson had a career-best 44 catches last season at Seattle and has only 95 in four seasons.

Smith, 29, despite a down couple of seasons, has 302 career catches for 4,951 yards and 39 touchdowns in seven seasons between Baltimore, San Francisco and Philadelphia. He also has a Super Bowl ring that he won last season with the Eagles.

He had 13 catches for 157 yards in Philadelphia's three playoff wins, including five catches for 49 yards in the Super Bowl victory over New England.

So $5 million against the cap does not sound so bad versus the average salaries between $8 million and $16 million a year that others received.

Who knows what Smith would have gotten had he been released and hit the open market. He's not complaining, but he likes what others got.

"I love it," Smith said after the trade was made official on Wednesday. "I am pro player all day. That's the way this business is supposed to work. Whether someone believes they deserve it or not, that's no one's opinion but the GM that gives it to them.

"I am excited for those guys. They are honestly changing the landscape. Four years ago, you get a five-year deal with the amount they are getting. That was a great deal."

Only a year ago, Smith signed a three-year, $15 million deal with the Eagles, who traded him to clear room against their tight salary cap.

Smith was not the only deal the Panthers got in free agency. They re-signed 38-year-old defensive end Julius Peppers to a one-year, $5 million deal with $2.5 million guaranteed. That's a bargain in today's world for a player who had 11 sacks a year ago and ranks fourth on the NFL's all-time sack list with 154.5.


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