Steve Smith Immediately Becomes Ravens’ Best Option

stevesmith

With Steve Smith now officially cut by the Carolina Panthers, the Ravens are expected to aggressively pursue the five-time pro bowler to upgrade their receiver corps.

This move makes sense for the Ravens for a number of reasons. Despite his age, you could make the argument that Smith is still better than any other option on the market.

With Eric Decker signing a deal worth $36.25 million and $15 million guaranteed, chances are Julian Edelman will be looking for a very similar deal. Hakeem Nicks’ value is tough to gauge, but it’s been reported he wants a multi-year deal and may be the riskiest of all three considering his injuries and lack of production over the past two years.

Paying any of these guys top money makes no sense, and the Ravens know that. Decker was overpaid and chances are Edelman and Nicks will be as well. They aren’t top guys, but teams like the Jets will pay them that way.

The Ravens know they don’t need a number one receiver; they have that. They need a complement to Torrey Smith that will help Dennis Pitta work the middle of the field – Steve Smith is that guy.

Smith fits perfectly into the role that the Ravens need. He himself said he is most effective out of the slot, but with the other wideouts Carolina possessed he was never able to play that role. He will with the Ravens. With Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones lining up on the other side of Torrey Smith, it will give Steve an opportunity to position himself where he feels he can be most effective.

Sure he’s 34, and he may not be a pro bowler at this point in his career, but he doesn’t need to be. He may have lost a step, but certainly still has the quickness to beat most corners and will be a matchup nightmare for any linebacker or safety.

As crazy as it sounds, the biggest reason Steve Smith makes the most sense is because he’s not a number one receiver anymore, and thirteen years into his career he most likely knows this. He won’t demand top dollar. Unlike the aforementioned receivers, he’s not a guy who will carry a big cap number three years down the road.

The Ravens need to extend Torrey Smith; hopefully, it’s something that can get done before the start of the 2014 season. Signing Steve Smith still makes that a realistic possibility, whereas signing Edelman or Nicks would make it tough.

Joe Flacco needs more weapons, there is no doubt about it. But there are no elite receivers on the market, and paying any as such would be a huge mistake. Let’s let the Jets and other consistently subpar teams deal with that headache two years from now.

Signing Steve Smith makes a lot more sense and will allow the Ravens to keep doing what they do best – take care of their own.

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About Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones
Ryan Jones is a native of Belair, MD and has been an avid Ravens fan since they came to Baltimore in 1996. He lived in Federal Hill, MD before moving to Boston in 2006. He is the cofounder of Ravens Nation North, a contingent of Ravens fans living in Boston...more

15 Raves on “Steve Smith Immediately Becomes Ravens’ Best Option

  1. Greg in Boston on said:

    I love the idea of the Smith as a raven a lot. However, the Ravens have not really had much success with the older pass catchers on short term deals over the years – Housh, Lee Evans, Stokely and Clark. Mason worked out well and so did Boldin though.

    We need this one to work out for us. I think Smith brings more locker room presence than any of those names not Boldin. Hope we get him!

  2. Anonymous on said:

    We all know he’s not a number 1, but does he know? Part of the reason he was released was that his cap hit was too much vs his production, what makes any of us think he will be willing to take a fair or fairish deal? I’ve also heard he can be troublesome on the sidelines. Some people say that will add fire to the team, but maybe it will just add drama, which Ravens seem to be finding at a remarkable rate this offseason…

    • Ryan Jones on said:

      Whether he realizes it or not there’s no chance anyone will pay him as one. As far as his attitude goes he’s a passionate player and wants to win. Very similar to Boldin, it’s all about how its perceived.

  3. Tucker: M&T Sec 527 on said:

    The closest comparable WR in recent Ravens history would be Derrick Mason. A tough, wily, sure-handed vet on the downhill side of a pro-bowl career physically by the time he got here. But wasn’t part of why Carolina was willing to move on that they wanted an often petulant Smith out of the locker room? Like Mason, Smith is part diva and quite possibly not as ready to surrender the #1 WR label as you surmise, Ryan. Don’t need any built-in drama if it can be avoided. I’d be in no hurry to the front of the line for Smith. I think the demand for him will underwhelm, w/ longer-term/younger elite FA WRs out there and a loaded draft ahead. The Ravens should bide their time, too. Pitta, Torrey, Marlon, & Jacoby is a nice receiving nucleus at this point in the off-season.

  4. Hollywoodheiz on said:

    Steve Smith is the fire that we need for our offense. Hakeem Nicks has stated he wants to go home, Charlotte. That path seems to be clear for him.
    If we resign Daryll Smith, and pick up both Steve Smith AND Alex Mack(long term) Oz will be able to manipulate the draft like never before.

    • Tucker: Sec 527 on said:

      Mack was transition tagged by Cleveland. Not entirely sure exactly how that restricts him, but he’s not on the “open market” for now. Jason De La Puenta of the Saints is however still out there. I’d welcome D. Smith back in a heart beat, De La Puenta would be a welcome upgrade at C. My reservations in re: S. Smith I’ve stated already.

    • james on said:

      And the fact that they resigned Miles gives us veteran help in the safety position. And I think Josh Wilson would be a good fit as the number 3 corner.

      While I am still not onboard with the Steve Smith move and I doubt we will be able to get Mack. But I would be happy if Ozzie could make these moves happen.

      It would show again that Ozzie is a master at bringing in the right players at the right price.

  5. John P on said:

    Everything you said is true. And I’ll add this: It makes taking a WR early MUCH easier as we’d have a year to groom him.

    BUT – “A punk by any other color is still a punk”. The guy has an attitude. He’s still “Dez Bryant” at heart. Putting him in purple won’t change that.

    And that alone makes me not want him.

    • james on said:

      I agree with what you said but I would like to add, he is 34 years old. Which means a few things:

      1. This seems like a quick fix for a position that needs a long term solution. Hopefully they still draft a receiver early, but that doesn’t make it any better. It just doesn’t seem like one of Ozzie’s typical moves.
      2. At his age he is more likely to get injured, any injury will be more severe and it will take longer to heal.
      3. Yes, Smith has been a Pro Bowler in the past, but we aren’t getting that Steve Smith, we are getting the Steve Smith he might be done. How many receivers have we seen have a really good season one year and then look average the next. If we sign Smith I think most will want him at the number 2 spot we could see a season where he struggles to get 500yds.

      If he was brought in because he was the missing piece to another Super Bowl run then it would be a smart move. If he was replacing an injured vet then I would understand the move. But right here, right now I don’t see Smith as the guy we need to sign.

    • Odenton Mike on said:

      Yes, the punk label surely fits here – our own Hines Ward II!! I don’t think this team needs to be flirting with anymore trouble makers as this off season has not been pretty!
      Could this be the start of the return of “inmates running the asylum”?
      I vote pass on picking this knucklehead up!!

  6. Jay on said:

    I would love the move but only if we’re still drafting another wide receiver within the first three rounds, let’s not forget he is 35 years old

  7. Baltimore Nole on said:

    I have some hesitation about this too. This is the same guy that punched one of his team mates Ken Lucas in the nose and broke it in 2008. That isn’t passion that is immaturity. There is actually a good article in the Charlotte Observer called: Steve Smith Timeline that shows his accomplishments and antics. He feels disrespected and angry. I think if you read the Timeline you will see you are not going to be able to contain that emotion and only let it loose on gameday.

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