Torry Holt Asks St. Louis Rams for Release: Is Philly a Good Fit?

Cody SwartzSenior Writer IMarch 5, 2009

This offseason, there's been a lot of campaigning from Eagles fans – myself included – to acquire a big-name wide receiver.

Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh were the popular choices, but Boldin appears likely to stay in Arizona now that Warner re-signed, and Houshmandzadeh signed with the Seattle Seahawks.


Antonio Bryant also seemed to be a real possibility, but he has since been franchised by Tampa Bay. Top draft prospect Michael Crabtree is expected to be taken in the top 10 picks, well before the Eagles select with the 21st overall pick.


That doesn't leave a whole lot of choices if the Eagles expect to get a playmaker for McNabb. As of now, DeSean Jackson and Kevin Curtis are the team's No. 1 and 2 receivers. With all due respect to those two, neither is quite what the team is looking for as a premier wideout.


The ideal receiver for McNabb—who has had a legit No. 1 receiver for just one and a half of his ten seasons in Philadelphia—would be a big, fast gamebreaker who can stretch the field and haul in 90 to 100 passes per season.


Ideally, this would be a player like Randy Moss of the Patriots or Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals, although odds aren't too good the Eagles could lure one of those two away from their current team and quarterback situation.


Enter Torry Holt.


ESPN reports longtime St. Louis Rams wide receiver Torry Holt, after unsuccessfully lobbying for a trade for several days now, has asked for his official release from the team. Holt is 32 and coming off the worst season of his career by far.


And he would be a perfect fit in Philly.


Holt caught just 64 passes for 796 yards and three touchdowns in 2008, all career lows since his rookie season. To get a better understanding of his year though, take into consideration his surrounding talent.


Holt played for one of the worst quarterbacks in the league last season—Marc Bulger threw just 11 touchdowns against 13 interceptions for a dismal 71.3 passer rating. The Rams' rushing attack finished 25th in the league and only the Cincinnati Bengals scored fewer points than the 2-14 Rams.


I think Holt has the skills to make the Eagles a better team with a more proficient offense. Holt is one of the most consistent and underrated threats in the NFL. He's been a top-five receiver his whole career, but few people have realized Holt's accomplishments.


Holt broke into the NFL in '99, winning a Super Bowl as a rookie, playing with Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, and Isaac Bruce on the Cinderella “worst-to-first” Rams.


Holt is the only player in history to total over 1,300 receiving yards in six straight seasons. Randy Moss never did that. Marvin Harrison hasn't. Even Jerry Rice—the clear-cut, no questions asked, greatest receiver in NFL history—never did it.


Holt caught over 80 passes eight straight seasons and over 90 for an NFL-record six straight. Twice he caught 100 passes, topping out at 117 in 2003. No Eagle receiver has ever caught 100 passes in a single season. No Eagle receiver has even caught 90 passes in a season.


Imagine Holt on the Eagles. He's a speed demon, topping out at 4.34 in the 40 back when he was drafted. While he might have lost a step or so over the last decade, he would still require double coverage, or at the very least, a team's best cornerback to cover him.


That would allow his teammates—Jackson, Curtis, and Brian Westbrook—to make plays.


Holt's best days might be behind him. Then again, he may have several years left. Either way, he's still a very productive wide receiver in this league, and I would like to see what he could do given the opportunity to play for one of the best quarterbacks in the league.


Not to forget, Holt would have an opportunity to be re-united with Curtis, his teammate on the Rams for four years.


McNabb has been lobbying for the team to sign a big-name receiver for several years now. He's had to play with a collection of second and third receivers his whole career, from the days of Charles Johnson and Torrance Small to James Thrash and Todd Pinkston.


At 32, McNabb is nearing the twilight of his career, and if the team wants to make one final run at the Super Bowl, an elite wide receiver is an essential component.


In fact, during the only full season McNabb ever had a true No. 1 receiver, the team started 13-1 and locked up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. This led to an eventual berth in Super Bowl XXXIX, the franchise's lone Super Bowl berth since 1980.


With the Rams expected to release Holt any day now, I sure hope the Eagles make an offer to the seven-time Pro Bowler. Holt is an ideal No. 1 receiver for the Birds, which makes Jackson as the team's No. 2 receiver and Curtis at No. 3 look all the more impressive.


The addition of Holt would give the Eagles one of the best receiving corps in the NFL.


I think it would be enough to push this team over the edge next season to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, in what could be the final chance for McNabb to earn that elusive ring.