If there’s one thing we’ve come to learn during Howie Roseman’s tenure as Eagles GM, it’s to expect the unexpected. After the dust began to settle on the Michael Bennett trade that set the league afire, the Birds are at it again. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Eagles have finalized a trade with the Carolina Panthers, exchanging 2x Super Bowl champion, Torrey Smith, for a young cornerback in Daryl Worley. Here’s all you need to know.
‘Capitalizing’ on the market:
This move comes down to numbers. While Smith was streaky during his short time in Philadelphia, it was expected that he would be the Eagles number 2 wide receiver moving forward until someone such as Mack Hollins or Shelton Gibson develops. Smith caught fire at the right time as the season game to a close and capped his campaign with a stunning 41-yard touchdown in the NFC Championship, stretching the field for the Eagles in the postseason. He ended the year with 430 yards and two scores.
He did however carry a $5M cap hit this year, which for a team struggling under the surface is a lot to swallow. Daryl Worley meanwhile, carries a hit of just $650,000. The Eagles shave roughly $4.35M off of their cap debt in pursuit of gaining funds for the upcoming rookie class and a slew of potential new contracts.
A former teammate of Rasul Douglas back in his West Virginia days, the 2016 third-round pick has come on leaps and bounds since his rookie year and when trusted on the outside, he often came up big. A predominantly zone cornerback with great vision, the 6’1, 205 lbs corner had 10 passes defensed in his second season. The jump between year two and three is when a corner often solidifies himself and the Eagles will be hoping that a scheme where off-coverage is key, will fit Worley if he is ever called up to the plate.
The Panthers did rank 18th in pass defense last year and were consistently stung by chunk plays down the sideline. Worley is very much a work in progress who has shown flashes of becoming a great corner in the 31 games played during his two-year career.
It’s time to step up:
Without Smith, the Eagles now lack a number two wideout. Mack Hollins usually plays inside and dominates the middle of the field, which means there is a huge window for Shelton Gibson to step up into. This is slightly concerning after Gibson barely clung on to a roster spot following an offseason of drops and inconsistencies, however after a year under Mike Groh and a week 17 appearance against Dallas, he may well be ready to fight for a spot. Don’t be surprised to see the Eagles push for a receiver in the heart of the draft however.
The Eagles now could field two complete secondaries there is that much rotation. What’s interesting is that Darby only has one more year on his contract, as does Worley. The Eagles need long-term security at the position outside of Sidney Jones and mid-term in Jalen Mills. Worley doesn’t aid that, but his low cap number gives the team a player who could fight for a depth spot or even potentially move outside should Jalen Mills step up to a nickel role, depending on what the future holds for Patrick Robinson. Optionality is a plenty in the Eagles secondary.
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