The San Francisco 49ers now head into free agency in desperate need of help at quarterback and wide receiver. This was already likely going to be the case before Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract.
Now that the 49ers have officially announced the release of veteran receiver Torrey Smith, this is magnified even further. In announcing the release of their most-talented receiver, general manager John Lynch had this to say.
“The 49ers would like to thank Torrey for representing this organization with tremendous class over the last two years,” the first-year GM said, via the team’s official website. “I have always had great respect for his skill as a player and as a wonderful example of how professional athletes can use their platform to make a difference in our community. We wish Torrey, and his family, all the best.”
Smith was surely a class act off the field for the 49ers. But his production on the field did not line up with the five-year, $40 million deal he inked with the team back in 2015.
Smith, 28, finished this past season with just 20 receptions or 267 yards and three touchdowns. That came on the heels of a 2015 performance that saw the speedster tally just 33 receptions. San Francisco saves nearly $5 million in cap room by releasing Smith.
In terms of the wide receiver himself, he will likely draw a ton of interest in free agency. Despite putting up 33 receptions in 2015, Smith also led the NFL with an average of 20.1 yards per catch. He’s a down-field threat that will benefit from better quarterback play presumably wherever he lands.
The Philadelphia Eagles had shown interest in trading for Smith during the 2016 season, but San Francisco’s asking price was said to be too high. In need of multiple receivers, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Philly kicked the tires on Smith in free agency.
Flush with north of $95 million to spend in free agency, San Francisco will surely be looking for a couple veteran receivers. That’s only magnified by the release of Smith. Already linked to both Alshon Jeffery and Terrelle Pryor, it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear some news break soon regarding a top-end free-agent addition to the 49ers.