Adam Schefter reported today that the Carolina Panthers are trading cornerback Daryl Worley for veteran wide-receiver Torrey Smith. All initial reports suggest this was a straight trade without any accompanying cash or draft picks. Carolina certainly could use help at wide receiver and Worley hasn’t been remarkably impressive through the first two years of his career. Worley has looked like a rotational player who could one day be a serviceable starter, but Carolina was clearly looking to upgrade in the secondary this offseason regardless.
Smith, however, is in the final year of his contract with the Eagles and is slated to earn 5-million dollars. The Eagles could also cut, and were likely to cut, Smith without any financial penalty. Instead, they offloaded Smith and acquired a player who could fight for a roster position for cheap.
Other than securing Smith for a fixed price of 5 million, it’s hard to see what Carolina gained other than adding a veteran option to a depleted wide-receiver corps. Smith has had success in the league, but most of it came four years ago in Baltimore. He wasn’t a big contributor to the Eagles offense last season, registering only 36 catches, 430 yds, and 2 TDs. From all accounts, he appears to be an aging veteran whose downfield game only becomes less scary with each year.
So why did the Carolina Panthers opt to make this trade when they probably could have just signed Smith next week for maybe even less money? It’s bizarre. One would hope that this is just the opening move in a more advanced plan to address quickly bolster Carolina’s offense and the defensive secondary.
Perhaps, Carolina is concerned that a hyper-inflated receiver market emerges in free agency that drives up the price of comparable options of Smith beyond 5-million. Carolina gets, in Smith, a receiver who they believe at the least could compete for a starting role, but more even more likely to serve as a veteran option if Plan A (whatever that is) doesn’t yield success.
Wonder what Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson and other elite WRs now thinking....— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 9, 2018
Buccaneers’ WR Mike Evans agreed to a 5-year, $82.5 million extension that includes $55 million guaranteed.
There have to be some additional dynamics related to this move that will soon come to light that helps us understand this move from both a personnel and financial standpoint. Maybe Carolina has something more aggressive in mind when it comes to acquiring a big-name receiver and somehow moving on from Devin Funchess in the process. It’s far-fetched, but there has to be another layer we haven’t uncovered just yet. Carolina may hope Smith adds enough reliability and enough speed for them to get by with Funchess, Samuel, and Byrd in hopes of looking to inject offense through the acquisition of a tight-end, such as Cameron Brate, Tyler Eifhert, or Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Since Carolina shipped out Worley for basically for a Goodwill donation, there could be some factors that caused Carolina to simply want to move Worley out of the organization. He hasn’t ever seemed to be in the full good-graces of Carolina’s coaching staff. He’s been somewhat sensitive to fan criticism of his play, and at times he has shown some dissatisfaction with his role in the secondary. Worley is also a Philadelphia native, so they may just be doing him a solid as they make room for a defensive free agent acquisition like Richard Sherman or Josh Norman.
It’s a move that isn’t going to make or break Carolina on either offense or defense. While puzzling at the moment, there could be some interrelated moves that follow which at least shed a little light on the trade’s value.
By Tony DunnFollow @Cat_Chronicles for the latest Panthers news and opinions from the fan perspective.