The San Francisco 49ers plunked down a sizable chunk of cash and cap space this offseason when they signed wide receiver Torrey Smith. The 5-year $40 million deal provides them with some outs along the way, but it is still the most they have invested in the wide receiver position in quite some time. They extended Anquan Boldin last year, but Smith's deal was a more notable "long-term" contract.
Boldin has been Colin Kaepernick's favorite target the last two seasons, and there is a good chance he will once again be the primary target in 2015. He is not a deep threat, but rather a guy who will chew up yards in that 10-20 yard range. Smith on the other hand is a guy who will help stretch the field a little bit more. The 49ers will hopefully further open up their deep game, but the short game will still remain an important part of the passing game.
James Brady put together a piece over at the mothership breaking down the No. 2 wide receivers around the league. He broke the receivers down into tiers, and inserted Torrey Smith in the second tier. The top tier included Emmanuel Sanders, Randall Cobb, Golden Tate, Victor Cruz, Mike Evans and Eric Decker. Smith's tier included Brandon LaFell, Pierre Garcon, Marvin Jones and Michael Floyd.
There was hope for a strong duo with Boldin and Michael Crabtree, but Crabtree got hurt the first year. In the second year, the 49ers found themselves with too many of the same kind of receiver. They had Brandon Lloyd, but he was an old version of himself. The addition of Smith brings a deep threat that is distinctly different from Anquan Boldin. Smith is not the greatest deep threat in the league, but he has the skills to transform the 49ers passing game.
There is plenty to follow on offense as the San Francisco 49ers move forward, and the passing game will be high on that list. We'll be tracking what Torrey Smith ends up bringing to the table, whether or not Vernon Davis has a career renaissance, what Reggie Bush and Kendall Hunter bring to the table coming out of the backfield, and so much more. And if Torrey Smith can help further establish the deep ball, that can only serve to improve the opportunities for the rest of the pass catching options.