Panthers GM Marty Hurney is not waiting until free agency to make moves, specifically at the all-important wide receiver position, which has long been preached by multiple members of the organization as a need this offseason, trading starting CB Daryl Worley to the Philadelphia Eagles for WR Torrey Smith.
Worley, who was drafted 77th overall in the 2015 draft, started 25 games over the past two seasons, at times splitting snaps with preseason acquisition Kevon Seymour during the 2017 season, culminating in playing 45.3% of the snaps of the snaps in a Week 12 loss before rebounding to take most of the snaps as the second starting cornerback. The move leaves the team with James Bradberry and Kevon Seymour as their starting outside cornerbacks as the team heads into free agency beginning Monday; Worley, who was unhappy with the snap split as it didn’t allow him to get into a rhythm, played on over 90% of the snaps in only seven games out of sixteen.
Smith, who certainly fits the mold of the veteran wide receiver that Rivera commented last week in Indianapolis the team was in the market for, has two Super Bowl rings and will be playing for his fourth team since being drafted in the second round by the Baltimore Ravens in 2011. Smith, along with fellow 2017 free agent signing Alshon Jeffrey, helped the Eagles to their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Smith has over 300 career catches, with his best season being the 2013 campaign in which he hauled in 65 catches for 1,128 yards. He followed that season with an 11-score campaign in 2014 before leaving for San Francisco in free agency; he’s averaged 16.4 yards per catch over his career, although last year was his lowest output with just 11.9 yards per grab, which would have been second among Panthers’ wide receivers last season, to go along with his seven drops over the 2017 campaign.
Smith had five catches in the 2017 Super Bowl and the second-most targets amongst Eagles. The 29-year old comes with a $5m cap hit on a contract that runs through the 2019 season; Worley, who many thought was equal to fellow cornerback James Bradberry, was on a rookie deal that would have paid him $670k in 2018.