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June 04, 2017

Mailbag: Should the Eagles release Torrey Smith to make room for Jeremy Maclin?

In our weekly Eagles chat on Wednesday, there were a lot of good unanswered questions that I was not able to get to, so we'll cover them and some recent emails here in an Eagles mailbag.

Question from Keith (via email): Why not cut Torrey Smith and give Jeremy Maclin his money?

After the Kansas City Chiefs released Maclin, we explored whether or not the Eagles should (or could) sign him to a new deal. One major obstacle if they were to have interest, of course, would be a lack of money under the salary cap. As such, it has been suggested by many that the Eagles should release Torrey Smith to make room for Maclin, both in terms of finances and the No. 2 spot within the Eagles' hierarchy at receiver. Smith is scheduled to make $5 million this season, and would "only" count for $500K against the cap if the Eagles released him.

That's not going to happen.

• To begin, the Eagles like Torrey Smith. They explored a trade for him during the season last year, and then snapped him up just two days after the San Francisco 49ers decided to release him this offseason. While Smith struggled with the Niners the last two seasons, he was a different player in Baltimore, where Eagles personnel chief Joe Douglas worked for 16 years.  

• Signing a player to participate in a few OTA practices and then cutting him with a $500K cap hit to make way for a different receiver would make the Eagles look like a clown show. It'd be the equivalent of buying a car, driving if off the lot, and then trading it in after a few days at 90 cents on the dollar for a more expensive model.

• Smith is represented by Drew Rosenhaus, who is known as a villain in Philadelphia ever since Terrell Owens did sit ups in his driveway, but the reality is that he and Howie Roseman have a good relationship. Cutting Smith three months after they signed him after six OTA practices would damage that relationship.

Question from Daniel: Thanks for the "June 1st trade" article. I've always thought that the distinction you made is relevant only if a team uses the immediate cap relief that year. If they don't then it rolls forward and it's as if it was a pre-deadline cut. Just wanted to add that dynamic to your commentary. 

Yes, that's correct. Still, even if the added money under the cap isn't immediately earmarked for another signing, it's better to have it at your disposal than not. For example, teams like to have a cushion under the cap in the event a player gets hurt and they have to quickly sign someone. One recent example of that would be when the Eagles signed Stephen Tulloch last year after they lost Joe Walker for the season with a torn ACL.

Comment from anonymous (via email): Do us Philly fans a favor. If and when Agholor shows his improvement and has a very good season, they can trade Torrey. Go work for the Cowgirls. Clearly, you are more interested in smashing our Eagles than anything else!

To note, this email was in response to a piece I wrote on the unrealistic expectation by some that Nelson Agholor is suddenly going to become a good starter. Also to note, are we still doing that thing where we turn the gender of a person or organization into the female form, as if being a female is bad? Can we stop that already?

Anyway, if you want only the positives, go read the Eagles' website. That's not a knock on the Eagles' site, but it's simply their job to point out the good. In the meantime, I'll continue to present reason and logic objectively.

Follow-up from anonymous (via email): Fluff is one thing, but writing a piece like that about one of our players of his character is irresponsible. Ever hear of Kurt Warner or anyone else that made it later instead of right away. There are a lot of players that at first were really bad. Then they go and have a breakout season and the rest is history. We as fans, can read negative things every day nationally. As a matter of fact, it isn't tough writing negative things about anyone or anything. Writing something of substance about a team that may or may not be ready to break out is much harder. Especially when the obvious is decorated all over the net and anywhere else. 

There are so many things to dispute here: 

• I haven't heard the Internet referred to as "the net" since that Sandra Bullock movie.

• Kurt Warner became a starter in the NFL like 20 years ago and had immediate success. He was never a bad player in the NFL. He is a terrible comparison for those (and several other) reasons, But, fine, I'll just give him to you because he was an arena league guy who beat the odds. So there, that's one guy. On the other hand, in the span of the last 20 years, there have been tens of thousands of players who sucked initially, and then just continued to suck. So which is more likely? The one in ten thousand shot, orrrrrr that the guy just is who he is?

• A player "of his character?" You do remember the whole stiffing the stripper story, right?

• The notion that it isn't tough writing negative things about anyone or anything is absurd from my perspective. If I write something negative about a player, more often than not they'll see it, and then I have to face them in the locker room. It is far, faaaaaar easier to blow sunshine up the players' asses.

• If I thought Agholor was going to break out, I'd write that. However, I don't write things I don't think.

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