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Eagles trade Torrey Smith to Panthers for CB Daryl Worley. Why this is a win for both teams

The cash-strapped Eagles free up $5 million in cap space with the move.

NFL: Super Bowl LII-Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Torrey Smith hoped to stay with the Philadelphia Eagles after earning a Super Bowl ring with the team, but the $5 million in savings were too much for the Eagles to pass on. But instead of releasing the receiver, Philadelphia found a creative way to recoup some value, by trading him to the Carolina Panthers for cornerback Daryl Worley, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Torrey Smith wanted to return in 2018 after a strong showing in the Super Bowl

In the 2017 season, Smith caught just 36 passes in the regular season for 430 yards with three touchdowns. His productivity picked up in the postseason, though, with 13 catches in the Eagles’ three wins, including five receptions for 49 yards in the Super Bowl.

“It’s something that I’m probably anticipating, being back [in Philadelphia],” Smith told in February. “I think both sides know that, but I also know it’s a business, as well. You understand that as a player, and you have to understand to protect yourself. I’d love to be back, and hopefully it works out that way. Anything else that happens, I’ll kind of deal with it.”

Why the Eagles decided to part ways with Smith anyway

Smith, 29, signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Eagles a year ago that was due to count $5 million against the salary cap in 2019 and 2020. By releasing him, Philadelphia will have no dead money from Smith on the books.

While Smith says he anticipated coming back for 2018, the release isn’t surprising given his production and price tag. For the Eagles, it was close to a necessity with the team entering the offseason with nearly $188 million in cap spending for 2018 and the salary cap set at $177.2 million.

Even after trimming the receiver from the roster, there’s probably still more cap-clearing moves on the way for the Eagles.

Getting a cheap cornerback with starting experience is the perfect way for the Eagles to keep the roster from deteriorating while keeping it under the salary cap

Smith gives the Panthers speed at receiver

Three years ago, Smith signed a five-year, $40 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers after establishing himself as one of the NFL’s most dangerous deep threats. He led the league in yards per receptions in his 2015 season with the 49ers, but his play has since dropped off.

But Carolina can use more speed at receiver. The Panthers traded away Kelvin Benjamin during the 2017 season because he offered little more than it already had with Devin Funchess — another possession receiver.

During the Panthers’ 15-1 season, the offense thrived with Ted Ginn — a similar receiver to Smith — scoring 10 touchdowns. That’s exactly what Carolina is hoping to get again.

Cam Newton will likely be happy to have more help:

While Smith’s contract was expensive for the Eagles, it’s easily absorbed by the Panthers who had work to do at cornerback anyway. Carolina will still have plenty of space to go after cornerback help, making the deal Friday a win for all parties.