Torrey Smith

Panthers WR Torrey Smith Accepts Pay Cut

Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith has agreed to reduce his base salary of $5MM to $2MM plus an additional $1MM via bonuses, tweets Field Yates of ESPN.com.

Carolina is pursuing free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and still needs to sign its top two 2019 draft picks, so the club can use any additional cap space it can get. By creating $2MM via Smith’s pay cut, the Panthers should now have roughly $11.835MM in available funds, per Over the Cap.

Smith missed five games due to a knee injury last season, appearing in only 11 games while making six starts. He was targeted just 31 times on the year, hauling in 17 of those targets for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Smith has never been a volume receiver, but he hasn’t topped 12 yards per reception since 2015, and hasn’t posted more than 40 catches since 2014.

Carolina acquired Smith, now 30 years old, from the Eagles last offseason in exchange for cornerback Daryl Worley. The Panthers exercised his 2019 option despite his lack of production last year, but that decision came with no downside, as none of Smith’s $5MM salary was guaranteed.

The Panthers added free agent Chris Hogan and seventh-round draft pick Terry Godwin to a wide receiver depth chart that already includes D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Jarius Wright, so Smith isn’t likely to see an increase in snaps in 2019. Despite today’s pay cut, he still may not be a lock for Carolina’s roster, although the club would now have to carry that $1MM bonus payment as dead money.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Exercise Torrey Smith’s Option

The Panthers have exercised Torrey Smith‘s option for the 2019 season, ensuring the veteran wideout will return to Carolina next season, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk tweets.

Carolina acquired Smith, now 30 years old, from the Eagles last offseason in exchange for cornerback Daryl Worley. He’s due to collect a $5MM base salary in 2019, but the Panthers could have moved on without absorbing any dead money onto their salary cap, as Smith has no guarantees remaining in his deal. Smith will now reach free agency during the 2020 offseason.

Smith missed five games due to a knee injury last season, appearing in only 11 games while making six starts. He was targeted just 31 times on the year, hauling in 17 of those targets for 190 yards and two touchdowns. Smith has never been a volume receiver, but he hasn’t topped 12 yards per reception since 2015, and hasn’t posted more than 40 catches since 2014.

The Panthers are expected to let free agent wideout Devin Funchess walk this offseason, so Smith could be in line for more snaps. He’ll play alongside 2018 first-round pick D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Jarius Wright.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Trade Torrey Smith To Panthers

The Panthers trading cornerback Daryl Worley to the Eagles in exchange for wide receiver Torrey Smith, sources tell ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The deal will give the Eagles some cap relief while strengthening their cornerback depth. Meanwhile, the Panthers acquire a proven veteran receiver, something that ranked high on their list of needs this offseason. 

The Eagles were expected decline Smith’s $5MM option and make him a free agent, but they instead found a taker in the Panthers. Smith started 14 games during his only season in Philly, hauling in 36 receptions for 430 yards and two touchdowns. That marked an improvement over his previous season with the Niners, a year in which he missed one-quarter of the regular season games and caught just 20 passes for 267 yards and three TDs.

Smith, a 2011 second-round pick, made a name for himself in Baltimore where he topped 1,100 yards in the 2013 season and established himself as one of the league’s best deep threats. He no longer looks the part of a top-tier wide receiver, but as he proved last year, he still has some gas in the tank.

Worley appeared in 15 games and started all but one of those contests for the Panthers. He tallied 63 tackles, one sack, and ten passes defensed, but he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 89 ranked cornerback last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Notes: Smith, Wideouts, Draft, Humphrey

The Ravens “continue to get positive reports” on cornerback Jimmy Smith‘s recovery from a torn left Achilles tendon. The veteran suffered the injury in a December win over the Lions. While there’s uncertainty if Smith will be ready in time for the start of the regular season, the defensive back has still been rehabbing the injury at the team facility “on a regular basis.”

“I see Jimmy. He’s there because he’s rehabbing. I see him in the building. He’s telling me he’s doing very well,” said general manager Ozzie Newsome (via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun). “I spoke with Drew [Rosenhaus] earlier in the week and Drew indicated that he just spent some time with Jimmy and Jimmy was doing well.”

Before his injury, Smith had compiled 28 tackles, nine passes defended, and three interceptions. The 2011 first-round pick has spent his entire seven-year career with the Ravens.

Let’s check out some more notes out of Baltimore…

  • Newsome previously said that the team is expected to reset the wide receiver position this offseason, and Zrebiec tweets that the sentiment “doesn’t bode well” for the returns of wideouts Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace. The duo combined for only 92 receptions, 1,188 yards, and seven touchdowns last season. Maclin has one year remaining on his contract (along with a $7.5MM cap hit), while Wallace is an unrestricted free agent.
  • With the Ravens apparently seeking reinforcement at wide receiver, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora tweets that a reunion with Torrey Smith is a “very real possibility.” The Eagles are expected to decline the 29-year-old’s 2018 option. Smith started 14 games during his only season in Philly, hauling in 36 receptions for 430 yards and two touchdowns. The 2011 second-round pick spent the first four seasons of his career in Baltimore.
  • Despite Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti‘s assertion that his team wouldn’t select a successor to Joe Flacco, La Canfora believes the team could still “invest a high pick” on a quarterback in this year’s draft. The Ravens haven’t been in the market for backup quarterbacks, and the team is “most likely” to select a wideout with their first-round pick. However, the reporter notes that the team is doing “considerable work” on the rookie passers, and they “very well could use a top pick on a quarterback if the right guy is there.”
  • The felony robbery charge against cornerback Marlon Humphrey has been dismissed, reports ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley. The 2017 first-rounder was accused of stealing a phone charger from an Uber, but Judge Joanne Jannik ruled that there was no probable cause to prosecute. After being selected 16th-overall in last year’s draft, Humphrey filled in admirably for Jimmy Smith, compiling 34 tackles and two interceptions.

AFC North Rumors: Ravens, Haley, Steelers

John Harbaugh confirmed the Ravens were interested in Torrey Smith last offseason, and Joe Flacco called his former deep threat while he was a free agent, Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun notes. Smith ultimately decided to sign with the Eagles, and it’s unclear what the Ravens offered (if one was made) for a reunion. Smith, who the 49ers cut prior to free agency last year, was interested in a Ravens return as well. But he didn’t recall the Ravens and his camp getting far on a deal.

I don’t really think so. We talked, but with the way the timing was going, I kind of just had to make a decision,” Smith told Zreibec about the sides’ 2017 discussions. “For me, this time around, it wasn’t about finances at all. It was about the right situation and the right time and that’s really kind of how it’s going to probably end up being for the rest of my career.

… Obviously, I had interest in coming back. That’s home. I have a lot of respect for everyone over there. They know that. It’s love forever. But to have the opportunity to come up here with some guys I was familiar with and to play in my wife’s hometown, that was pretty cool as well.”

However, with the now-two-time Super Bowl champion wideout a possible free agent again soon — the cap-strapped Eagles hold a team option for his $5MM 2018 wages — he may have another decision to make. And with Baltimore’s post-Smith deep threat, Mike Wallace, also a UFA, the sides could potentially revisit a reunion. Smith’s best seasons came with the Ravens, and he hasn’t come particularly close to matching his Baltimore work over the past two seasons.

Here’s the latest from some of the Ravens’ top rivals.

  • The Browns‘ offense may like quite familiar to a certain fanbase next season. Todd Haley will be bringing over his offensive system from Pittsburgh, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes. The longtime OC and new Browns play-caller will be implementing his scheme, complete with new terminology, so it will mark a significant adjustment from a team that operated without an OC the past two seasons. However, some of Hue Jackson‘s previous concepts will be retained, Haley said.
  • While Ryan Shazier continues his rehab from the spine injury that has his NFL career in danger of ending, the Pro Bowl linebacker is working out at Steelers facilities daily. Kevin Colbert said Shazier works out at the team’s headquarters and attends meetings in addition to his rehab performed at an outpatient facility. Guaranteed $8.7MM next season, Shazier has been working with coaches watching film and observing scouting meetings, Joe Rutter of the the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. Owner Art Rooney said last week Shazier would have a role with the 2018 Steelers even if he can’t play next season. The linebacker was recently released from a Pittsburgh hospital after at two-month stay and displayed progress at a recent Pittsburgh Penguins game by standing up, with assistance, and remaining on his feet to a standing ovation.
  • The Steelers have already restructured two starters’ deals to create 2018 cap space and may well continue to do so. Even after they reorganized David DeCastro and Stephon Tuitt‘s contracts, the Steelers have barely $7MM in projected space. Pittsburgh used to be against this tactic, but Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports team VP of football and business administration Omar Khan is believed to have convinced ownership to proceed in this fashion years ago. Khan serves as the franchise’s chief negotiator. While Tuitt and DeCastro’s 2019 cap numbers rose because of last week’s transactions, Bouchette notes the Steelers believe the cap’s continuous rises will help absorb those figures — the 2019 cap could well surpass $190MM — and keep the team from having to cut essential personnel to cover for their accounting tricks.

NFC Rumors: Romo, Baker, Jeffery, Eagles

Tony Romo was “never being waived” by the Cowboys, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). We presume the source means “cut” rather than “waived” since vested veterans cannot be waived in the offseason. Word on Wednesday was that the Cowboys would release Romo, allowing him to sign with another club. Then, on Thursday, it was reported that the Cowboys were expecting to trade the quarterback to the Broncos or Texans. For now, things remain in a holding pattern for Romo.

Here’s more from around the league on Day 1 of official free agency.

  • The Redskins did not end up making an offer to Chris Baker, who agreed to a deal with the Buccaneers, Dianna Russini of ESPN.com tweets. Baker joined DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon as higher-end free agents who left Washington this week.
  • Alshon Jeffery looks to be a believer in Carson Wentz. The sixth-year wideout turned out a turned down a multiyear deal with greater security from the Vikings to sign with the Eagles, Ian Rapoport tweets.
  • Torrey Smith‘s Eagles deal is for one year and $5MM, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports (on Twitter), adding that the contract contains two option years. Both option years are worth $5MM apiece. Smith will collect a $500K bonus from what will be his third NFL employer.
  • Chance Warmack signed with the Eagles for one year and $1.51MM, per Pelissero (on Twitter). This looks like a value-re-establishing season for the former Titans first-rounder, who will receive a $500K signing bonus.
  • The SeahawksLuke Joeckel deal is for one year and up to $8MM, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. The guaranteed money here isn’t known yet, but Joeckel could do well for himself after seeing seeing the Jaguars pass on his 2017 option in 2016 and then going on IR.
  • New Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall said four teams were on his top tier in terms of giving him the best chance to win: the Giants, Patriots, Steelers and Seahawks, per Art Stapleton of The Record (on Twitter). Marshall has never made the playoffs in 11 seasons. The Giants made their first playoff berth in five years in 2016.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report.

Eagles To Sign Torrey Smith

The Eagles have landed Torrey Smith. The veteran wide receiver will get a three-year, $15MM deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Torrey Smith (Vertical)

The Ravens were said to be nearing a deal to bring Smith back to Baltimore. Apparently, that fell through. Now, the Eagles have added Smith as another weapon for quarterback Carson Wentz to work with.

The Eagles have been in the market for a deep-threat wide receiver this offseason and Smith fits the bill. The bigger question now is whether they have given up on their Brandin Cooks pursuit. The Patriots are reportedly mulling a deal which would see Malcolm Butler go to New Orleans (perhaps as part of a package) in exchange for Cooks.

Smith, 28, floundered during the past two seasons in San Francisco, but he’s now heading to a much better offensive environment. The Eagles reportedly mulled a trade for Smith last season, but no agreement was ever reached. Smith, who’s averaged 17 yards per catch during his six-year career, will slot in as Philadelphia’s top pass-catcher for the 2017 campaign.

We ranked the veteran as the eighth-best available wideout.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Likely To Sign Torrey Smith?

There is “a very, very strong likelihood” of Torrey Smith signing with the Ravens, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Smith, of course, spent the first four seasons of his career in Baltimore. Torrey Smith

A reunion with Smith would be more than a great feel good story – it could potentially give the Ravens a replacement for Kamar Aiken if he gets away via free agency. Currently, the Ravens’ wide receiver depth chart is headlined by Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman, and Chris Moore. Wallace could wind up as a cap casualty this spring.

While with the Ravens, Smith averaged 53 catches, 898 yards, and eight touchdowns per season. His strongest overall year came in 2013 when he caught 65 passes for 1,128 yards and four scores, but his eleven touchdown total in the following campaign was nearly as impressive.

The Niners cut Smith this week while he was in the midst of his $40MM deal. The wideout wasn’t nearly as productive in San Francisco. Smith caught 33 passes for 663 yards and four touchdowns during his first season with the 49ers, and he led the league with a 20.1 yard-per-reception mark. The veteran played in 12 games in 2016, but he finished with career-lows in receptions (20), yards (267) and touchdowns (three).

Previous reports linked Smith to both the Ravens and the Eagles. We ranked the veteran as the eighth-best available wideout.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Torrey Smith To Land With Ravens Or Eagles?

Back in free agency after a 49ers release, Torrey Smith looks like he will be returning to the east coast. Two teams, the Ravens and Eagles, appear to be the leaders to land the deep threat, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com notes (on Twitter).

Each holds a connection to the sixth-year wideout. The Ravens selected Smith in the second round in 2011, and he went on to have four productive seasons in Baltimore. The Ravens added Mike Wallace last year after the Vikings released him; Smith would be an obvious comparison if he returned to Maryland. Wallace is under contract for the 2017 season, and despite looming as a possible cap cut is expected to remain with the team. Kamar Aiken, though, is a UFA, and Steve Smith retired to leave the Ravens with some vacancies at wide receiver.

The Eagles discussed a Torrey Smith trade with the 49ers and have been connected to virtually every higher-end receiver on this year’s market, including Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Kenny Stills. Jackson and Stills will command more money for their deep-threat skills, so Smith would profile as a more reasonable addition.

With the 49ers, Smith’s production lessened in 2015 before cratering in ’16. San Francisco’s shaky quarterback situation helped limit Smith to 267 air yards — nearly 400 fewer than his previous career-low mark — before he became one of the many 49ers to finish the season on IR.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

PFR’s Top 50 NFL Free Agents

It’s free agency week! This year, thanks to the salary cap increase, the dollars will be flying and players will make more than you ever could have expected. Our lists for offense and defense rank free agents based on overall ability, but our Top 50 ranks players based on earning power. Here, you’ll get a good sense of what the market will be like this week and who the big fish are.

The league’s “legal tampering” window will open on Tuesday at 11:00am CT. Technically, teams and players aren’t permitted to finalize agreements on contracts during that legal tampering window, but that’s often treated as a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. We will almost certainly see handshake agreements go down on Tuesday and Wednesday before they become official on Thursday, the technical beginning of free agency.

Our list of 2017’s top 50 free agents doesn’t include restricted free agents, or franchise tagged players, since they’re effectively restricted free agents as well.

With those caveats out of the way, let’s dive right in! Here are Pro Football Rumors’ top 50 NFL free agents for 2017, along with a few predictions on how much they might earn and what teams could be in the mix to sign them:

1. A.J. Bouye, CB (Texans): Bouye is an overnight sensation, going from unknown to elite talent in the blink of an eye. No one knows exactly what to make of Bouye, but his upside is too much for teams to pass up. The Texans declined to use the franchise tag on the 25-year-old (26 in August), but they’re still hoping to get a deal done this week. The Jets are said to have interest, but it’s not clear if they’ll have the room to get something done. Cornerback-needy teams like the Panthers, Saints, Jaguars, Titans, Bears, and Eagles can be expected to at least kick the tires on this year’s top player in the secondary. Could something like Janoris Jenkins‘ five year, $62.5MM contract ($28.8MM fully guaranteed) from last year be within reach? Jenkins had a longer history of success than Bouye, but consider these facts: Bouye nearly two years younger than Jenkins was at time of signing and the salary cap has risen by about $12MM.
Signed with Jaguars for five years, $67.5MM.A.J. Bouye (vertical)

2. Alshon Jeffery, WR (Bears): He was hurt for most of 2015 and he slumped along with the entire Bears offense in 2016, but his natural ability is still evident and he is a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver. At one point, it seemed like Jeffery could wind up as the league’s highest-paid wide receiver. That won’t be the case, but he will likely get more cash than any other wide receiver in this year’s class. The Eagles and Titans have been hot on his tail for some time now. The 49ers could also get involved and a return to the Bears cannot be ruled out either. Ultimately, Jeffery should wind up fetching at least $10MM per year and perhaps as much as $12MM per year on his next deal.
Signed with Eagles for one year, $9.5MM.

3. Kenny Stills, WR (Dolphins): Jeffery isn’t the only wide receiver who could fetch $12MM per year. Stills isn’t necessarily the best wide receiver on his own team, but he is just on the cusp of his 25th birthday and his ability to stretch the field is tantalizing. It doesn’t sound like the Dolphins are ready to be the highest bidder for his services and it’s not hard to imagine a team like the Eagles landing him. Naturally, there’s quite a bit of overlap between the potential suitors for Jeffery and Stills: the Eagles, Titans, Bears, and 49ers will probably come calling. The Rams may not have enough room to squeeze in Stills, but they could certainly use a playmaker like him if they do not re-sign Kenny Britt. Stills reportedly likes the West Coast (who doesn’t?) so the Niners and Rams could have a leg up on the others if the bidding is close.
Re-signed with Dolphins for four years, $32MM.

4. Dont’a Hightower, LB (Patriots): The market is capped for non-rush linebackers, but Hightower is pretty much the best at what he does and is also lauded for his intangibles. The Patriots have always embraced the “next man up” philosophy, so it is possible they will allow him to go elsewhere. The Dolphins have been frequently connected to Hightower, but that might be too ambitious for a team that has multiple major needs to address. The Colts might also make sense, but the price might be too rich for their blood. A Patriots return appears to be the most likely outcome, but anything is possible.
Re-signed with Patriots for four years, $35.5MM. 

5. Kevin Zeitler, G (Bengals): Zeitler has age on his side and he’s one of the safest free agents in the top ten after three consecutive years of dominance. Interior offensive linemen don’t get as much love as their counterparts on the outside, but they are still incredibly vital and Zeitler’s next contract will reflect that. If he doesn’t circle back to the Bengals, the Jaguars, Cardinals, Packers, and Seahawks all make varying degrees of sense for Zeitler. From a football standpoint, you can add the Jets to that group too, but I’m not sure they can meet a ~$12MM/year asking price.
Signed with Browns for five years, $60MM.

6. Logan Ryan, CB (Patriots): There are bigger names available at the cornerback position, but Ryan slots ahead of many of them after a career year. It also doesn’t hurt that this fresh-faced Super Bowl champ only just turned 26 in February. If the Patriots don’t tie him down, Ryan’s earning power could conceivably vault him past Trumaine Johnson in terms of guaranteed cash. The Jaguars and Titans would be wise to zero in on Ryan if they can’t land Bouye and it’s possible that some of their evaluators might even prefer Ryan over the Houston standout. Ryan’s next deal will probably pay him eight figures per year and it should be a lengthy pact.
Signed with Titans for three years, $30MM.

7. Terrelle Pryor, WR (Browns): There is strong mutual interest in a new deal between Pryor and the Browns. Still, the Browns passed on the opportunity to franchise tag the Ohio State product and he now appears poised to test the open market. With pretty much just one year to show, how will Pryor fare in free agency? His next deal should pay him at least $10MM/year and he could get up to $12MM/year. In addition to the Browns, the usual suspects for this year’s high-end WRs will explore signing Pryor (say it with me): Eagles, Titans, and 49ers. There’s conflicting word about whether the Steelers will get involved. The Giants are known to have interest, but I don’t think they’ll be splurging on free agents like they did one year ago.
Signed with Redskins for one year, $6MM.

8 .Ricky Wagner, OT (Ravens): There’s already talk of Wagner fetching around $10MM/year and it’s not like this year’s free agent market is flush with young, quality tackles. When you also consider the lack of quality tackles in the draft, it’s apparent that Wagner is about to get PAID, in all caps.Believe it or not, $10MM/year might be his floor. When all is said and done, he’ll be the league’s biggest earner at right tackle. The Bears are particularly interested in Wagner, so he could go from the AFC North to the NFC North this week.
Signed with Lions for five years, $47.5MM.

Calais Campbell (vertical)9. Calais Campbell, DL (Cardinals): Campbell was supposed to be an afterthought in Arizona after the addition of Chandler Jones. Perhaps motivated by a perceived slight, Campbell turned in a stellar year. Now, the Cardinals would very much like to keep him, but they can only go so far as they back up the Brinks truck for Jones and look into retaining other key free agents. If Jones does not agree to a cap-smoothing long-term deal between now and March 9th, the odds of Campbell leaving increase. The Jaguars are said to be a leading contender for Campbell while the Titans, Broncos, Colts, and Bears could also use a force like him. His age (31 in September) gives him a bit of a ceiling in terms of overall compensation, but he should still do nicely this month.
Signed with Jaguars for four years, $60MM.

10. Stephon Gilmore, CB (Bills): In terms of pure talent, Gilmore might be the best cornerback available. Trouble is, no one knows what to make of him after a down 2016. Some have openly theorized that Gilmore was playing it safe to avoid injury in his pivotal contract year. It’s also possible that Buffalo’s injuries in the front seven put undue stress on the secondary. The Bears are reportedly high on Gilmore and he may represent a cheaper option than Bouye or Ryan. A Bills return would also make sense here.
Signed with Patriots for five years, $65MM.

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