Former third-round pick from UCF Tre’Quan Smith hasn’t been able to find a breakout season in his four-year career with the New Orleans Saints to date. Smith, a former college deep threat, hasn’t lived up to the same role in the league, but he brings a lot of valuable things to the table. Smith’s deal is valued at $6M with the chance to earn $4.5M in additional money with incentives.
Tre'Quan Smith (Saints) two years, $6M, $2M signing bonus, salaries $1.1M, $2.7M; $200K 5th day 2023 league year roster bonus, up to $1.5M catches, touchdowns, incentives annual, $1.5M catches, touchdowns base escalator 2023; 2024 and 2025 void if on roster last day 2023 lg yr.— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 29, 2022
Around the league, Smith is valued as a great run-blocking receiver and the Saints value this ability immensely. His teammate Cam Jordan has been quoted calling him the best run blocker in the league at his position. His grit and work ethic on the perimeter do not go unnoticed.
This deal for the Saints doesn’t fill the hole they have at receiver but it at least adds depth and familiarity to a roster that has had some dramatic changes this offseason. With the addition of one, two, or even three other wide receivers this could be a good move for the Saints. At times, Tre’Quan was asked to be the number one receiver on the Saints in 2021. If he’s asked to only be a number three in 2022, he has proven he can be serviceable at the position.
New Orleans still needs to add a veteran pass-catcher of some sort into the offense, and there are plenty of high-level guys still available. Guys like Jarvis Landry, Odell Beckham Jr, Emmanuel Sanders, Will Fuller, A.J Green, among many others. The Saints would also be foolish to not select one of the premier wide receivers early in this year’s NFL draft if the opportunity presents itself. Noteworthy, a large part of the Saints staff was present at the Ohio State pro day featuring Chris Olave and Garret Wilson. A wide receiver room of Michael Thomas, Olave/Wilson, a veteran (Landry? Beckham? Sanders?), Smith, Marquez Callaway, and Deonte Harty is a core the Saints need to build around Jameis Winston. Dennis Allen has already stated they’d like to address the position in the draft.
The move becomes risky if and when the Saints rely on Smith to break through and become that elite wide receiver to pair with Mike Thomas. Jameis Winston and Tre’Quan Smith built early chemistry last off-season when they spent the offseason working out together. An early injury by Smith kept him out at the beginning of the year and just a couple of games into Smith’s return, the Saints lost Winston for the year. Many believed a big-arm QB like Winston and the good chemistry they had would help translate into a breakout year for him, which we weren’t able to see. Could we still see Winston and Smith breakthrough together? Maybe. It’s yet to be seen and should not be relied upon.
The Saints as a whole haven’t been healthy in years but the return of Michael Thomas could and will be the main solution to this problem. Tre’Quan Smith is a part of the puzzle but he certainly isn’t the answer.