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Is Devonta Smith a True Number One Wide Receiver?

Devonta Smith: The extension of Devonta Smith is widely celebrated among fans, but was the price the Eagles paid worth it?

On Monday morning, it was announced that the Eagles and wide receiver Devonta Smith had agreed to a three-year contract extension. The deal commits both Smith and the Eagles together through the 2028 season. The extension won’t kick in until after the 2025 season once Smith’s rookie contract ends. But after the 2025 season, Smith’s contract earns him $25 million each season for the next three seasons.

While the Eagles have had some saddening retirements of key and iconic players, they still have had an eye on the future with the Landon Dickerson extension, and now Smith as well. It’s clear that the Eagles are excited about their young core of Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown, and Devonta Smith, and they certainly are paying top-dollar prices for all three. With uncertainty around wide receivers like Brandon Aiyuk and Tee Higgins, the Eagles won’t have to go through that drama. Not to mention, the recent holdouts of CeeDee Lamb with the Dallas Cowboys and Justin Jefferson with the Minnesota Vikings. However, is Devonta Smith a number one wide receiver worth the type of price tag the Eagles paid?

Thoughts on Devonta Smith’s Contract Extension

Devonta Smith’s Pay vs Production Compared to the NFL

The easy answer to whether Smith can be the Eagles’ number one wideout is that he doesn’t have to. The Eagles have A.J. Brown who is widely considered as the Eagles’ number one wideout. However, once Smith’s extension kicks in, he will be on the same yearly salary as Brown at $25 million. Which would rank both in the top 5 of the NFL’s highest-paid yearly average for wide receivers. The Eagles paid Smith like he is or will be a number-one wideout, a point of contention for teams like the 49ers with Brandon Aiyuk right now. Smith and Aiyuk are not dissimilar in their stats and production, but Aiyuk had a career-best year last season ranking in the ten in receiving yards. Smith did the same in 2022, his second season in the league.

Altogether, these players are similar, yet neither are top five receivers in the NFL currently. However, the market is always going up, and by the time Smith’s extension kicks in, he may be a lot lower on the highest-paid list in 2026. While Devonta Smith may not be a true number-one receiver yet, he has shown some incredible flashes and has been a reliable weapon for the Eagles. The number may seem high now, but Smith has the potential to make that contract a bargain by 2027.  Smith’s route-running, hands, and reliability are something that everyone would want on their team. The Eagles were smart to get this done early, especially with the number of receiver extensions that may come in the next year.

The Eagles Outlook

Altogether, the total contracts of Smith and Brown combined are $175 million. The only team in 2024 that was paying two receivers over $20 million was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The numbers of Smith and Brown’s contracts won’t likely look as bad in 2026 when Smith’s extension kicks in. However, there’s still a lot of cap space the Eagles will be spending on the receiver room. It’s clear they have immense faith in the core of the offense in Brown, Smith and Jalen Hurts.

Yet, with how much cap space those three players will account for in the coming years, there will be sacrifices elsewhere. Defense is the most likely candidate to potentially be less prioritized by the Eagles front office. Regardless, the Eagles have seemingly made their bet on the next generation of their football team. They had already committed to Hurts and Brown, but the commitment to Smith solidified their new foundation. They are going to build this team around their young quarterback with explosive, star receivers. We may see the potential repercussions of this decision in a few years with the defense or offensive line. Yet, it’s hard to argue with the route Howie Roseman is taking, and his bet on their top three playmakers.

Main Photo: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports


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