The Eagles haven’t made any splashy signings in the past few days, and apparently they just got a little twitchy.
Today the Eagles inked former Giants wide receiver Steve Smith to a one-year contract, reportedly valued at $4 million with half of it fully guaranteed.
Eagles head coach Andy Reid is obviously pleased.
“Like I’ve said many times before, Howie Roseman and I are always keeping our eyes open for good football players and players that we think can help our football team win,” Reid said. “And Steve Smith certainly fits that category. He’s a Pro Bowl quality receiver that we will work into our offense as soon as he is ready to go. We feel very good about our current group of receivers and Steve adds another dimension to that position. He’s played very well against us in the past few years and we’re happy to have him on board.”
If healthy, it’s a massive steal. Smith, a former second-round pick out of USC, put up 107 catches and went to the Pro Bowl in 2009. And that was with Eli Manning at quarterback.
Unfortunately, the reason Smith is available on the cheap and willing to sign the proverbial one-year “prove-it” deal is that he’s not healthy. He is actually coming off microfracture surgery on his knee, which means even at only 26 years old he may never be the same player he once was. And he’s not really able to do much of anything right now, even practice, but Smith says he hopes to be ready to go by Week 1.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin was recently on the record as saying he didn’t think Smith was that close, though the Giants were still pursuing the veteran receiver. But apparently not hard enough. Said Smith on his Facebook page:
“[T]he eagles wanted me to be part of their organization MUCH more than the Giants did.”
Only time will tell whether Smith can still play.
Still, with it looking like Jeremy Maclin’s mysterious illness will cause him to miss all of camp and with DeSean Jackson and the Rosenhaus circus impatiently waiting on a new deal, signing Smith right now is a fantastic move that is worth the risk.
Smith, 5-11, 195 pounds, would give the Eagles a legitimate primary receiver if Maclin can’t go, a guy who will take pressure off DeSean to carry the load. It’s a fair price to pay for insurance at a position that not long ago was considered a strength but lately has been anything but.
Smith has played in 46 career games, starting 26. He has amassed 220 receptions for 2,386 yards and 11 TDs.
The Eagles will soon need to decide whether Smith will start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. If so, he would have to sit out the first six games of the season. During that time he won’t be able to practice with the team but could work with the staff on rehab and go to team meetings. After that six weeks, he would have up to three weeks to start practicing, and once he does, the team would have three weeks from then to add Smith to the active roster. If they don’t, Smith will have to miss the rest of the season.
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