Saints: Tre’Quan Smith is underrated heading into a contract year

Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Tre'Quan Smith, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

It’s been a slow start to Tre’Quan Smith‘s career but the 2021 season is a contract year for him, so hopefully, that’s an incentive for him to show up in a big way for the New Orleans Saints.

Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports listed Smith as the Saints’ most underrated player who is on the verge of a breakout season. Benjamin wrote:

"He’s failed to register 450 receiving yards in each of his three seasons, and yet the big-play potential has always been evident. With 14 career scores and a yards-per-catch average of nearly 14, he’s a deep-ball weapon waiting to emerge, and Jameis Winston likely succeeding Drew Brees could mean more downfield action."

Smith has definitely received a fair share of praise this offseason despite not putting up much on the stat sheet to this point. The Saints clearly saw big things for him when they took him in the third round three years ago and he had a chance to step up in Michael Thomas’ absence last year but didn’t accomplish much during that time.

All of that being said, this is the year for Smith to step up and show that he can be a No. 2 wide receiver in the NFL. It’s a contract year for Smith and wide receivers can make a pretty penny in free agency even if they only put up massive numbers in just their contract season.

Watch out for Saints WR Tre’Quan Smith in 2021.

As Benjamin noted in his blurb, with Jameis Winston potentially taking over this year, this could set Smith up to have a career year, as the former No. 1 overall pick is no stranger to airing out the football. Drew Brees’ arm strength was certainly declining near the end of his career but the Saints won’t have that problem if Winston is the starter. He’ll be flinging the football down the field and Smith will hopefully be one of his favorite targets.

Fantasy Pros is excited for Smith and what he could do on the field this year, offering this analysis:

"When healthy, Smith caught 34 passes for 448 yards and two touchdowns. He also has a close rapport with Jameis Winston, as the two connected for a huge playoff touchdown last year and also spent time training together in California this offseason."

Smith and Winston’s chemistry that was formed in limited action last year hasn’t been mentioned much, probably because Winston didn’t see the field a ton, but it is something to keep in mind for sure. If Winston is the quarterback, Smith should benefit tremendously and if he can put up career numbers, a big contract is waiting in the wings.

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It’ll be interesting to see how this season plays out for Tre’Quan Smith, but hopefully, when the season is over, he’s had a successful season and the Saints are able to retain him.