And so the rich get richer. At this point, it's like Howie Roseman is running pantsless around the rest of the league's GMs. The Eagles signed former Giants wideout Steve Smith to a one-year deal late Wednesday, and that signing, after all the other signings the Eagles have drawn up over the past month, may prove to be the most critical signing of all.
Not to minimize the importance of signing the likes of Nnamdi Asomugha and Cullen Jenkins. Obviously, those were huge additions. But most of the Eagles' signings this offseason were on the defensive side of the ball, and the signings they made on offense (Vince Young, Ronnie Brown) were made to bolster depth. But Smith is another matter. Smith is a reliable target with great hands that adds another dimension to a wideout corps that already included DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Jason Avant. It's an embarrassment of riches at full power.
As New York Giants beat writer Mike Garafolo (@mikegarafolo) said on Twitter directly after the signing:
With a portfolio of receivers like this, Michael Vick will now have two ways to murder a defense through the air. Maclin and Jackson provide downfield threats. But Vick will also have Smith, Jason Avant, LeSean McCoy, AND Brent Celek as safety outlets at points fifteen yards downfield or less. He'll be able to slowly roast defenses by eating up yards on short pass after short pass. This isn't dinking and dunking. This isn't throwing short because your QB stinks and you have no downfield threat. This is having the option to bring the defense in through the short passing game before going vertical again and burning everyone. And should Vick go down with an injury (and given his track record, it's kind of inevitable), Smith's presence will give Vince Young a sturdy possession receiver to help build his confidence. With Smith in the fold, Young could step in and be shockingly not terrible if the Eagles need him to be.
There's also the matter of depth that Smith adds, because now the team could go without Maclin (nursing an undisclosed illness) or Jackson for a stretch and still have a good target for Mike Vick to throw to. But Steve Smith wasn't brought in to just be a spare part. He was brought in so that this team could go three and four wide and have a killer advantage over opposing secondaries. Suddenly, this team's excellence feels a whole lot more assured.