Torrey Smith Released by 49ers

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2017

BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 16:   Torrey Smith #82 of the San Francisco 49ers runs after the catch during the first half against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on October 16, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers announced they released veteran wide receiver Torrey Smith on Tuesday via Twitter.

This comes after the wide receiver confirmed Monday via Instagram that he would be let go: 

Retired NFL wideout Steve Smith Sr. originally broke the news.

Prior to his Instagram post, Torrey sent out a series of tweets seemingly acknowledging his departure from the Bay Area:

Smith, 28, recorded 20 receptions for 267 yards and three touchdowns last season. He was rendered all but irrelevant in an offense that struggled to find any success through the air with either Colin Kaepernick or Blaine Gabbert.

Signed to a five-year, $40 million contract in March 2015, Smith's career in San Francisco never really got off the ground. He set career lows in receptions and yards during each of his two 49ers seasons. In 2016, a concussion limited him to 12 games.

"I still have symptoms," Smith said on KNBR in December, per Eric Branch of SFGate. "I don't know how long that will be. Whether it's going to be a week, or two weeks, or whatever, you just never know. It's my first time ever having one like this. Obviously, I was knocked out, so it was pretty bad. I don’t know, but things are better, which is a positive sign."

Releasing Smith now allows the Niners to avoid paying him the bulk of his base salary. He was scheduled to make $6.5 million each of the next three seasons. According to Over the Cap, San Francisco will eat $4.8 million in dead money and save roughly $4.7 million in cap space.

For now, Smith will enter the free-agent market hoping a team needs a downfield threat. Smith still averaged a fine 13.4 yards per reception in 2016 and has averaged 17.0 yards per catch over his career.

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While the six-year veteran was never the most consistent receiver at his peak in Baltimore, joining a team with a more stable quarterback situation than San Francisco's should help Smith take full advantage of what remains of his prime next season.  

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