Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The Baltimore Ravens have left the shallows of free agency with the signing of wide receiver Steve Smith, formerly of the Carolina Panthers. The meeting I briefly mentioned this afternoon must have went well.
Smith has a three-year deal with the Ravens worth $11 million with a $3.5 million signing bonus, according to Aaron Wilson on Twitter.
After re-signing Jacoby Jones, the Ravens now have Jones, Torrey Smith, Marlon Brown, and now the new Smith at wide receiver. Along with the healthy tight-end Dennis Pitta, I am certainly enjoying the targets Joe Flacco has to throw to this next season.
S. Smith gives the Ravens a player similar to what Anquan Boldin gave them. An older player, at 34, S. Smith has never had a consistent quarterback in Carolina, so Flacco may be able to give him a better outlet for his talents.
S. Smith certainly will be a role model, with 14 years under his belt, in the locker room as a veteran receiver, which the Ravens did not have last season.
S. Smith comes to the Ravens after a disappointing season with 64 receptions for 745 yards with four touchdowns.
The 745 yards are his fewest since 2010, and only his fourth season below 1,000 yards in 11 seasons as a regular starter for the Panthers. The numbers may not seem low, but they are low for S. Smith, and I except him to improve upon them with the Ravens.
According to his redzone stats throughout recent seasons, he certainly has never been a receiver to target inside the 20.
However, with Pitta and Brown, this certainly will not be a problem, but actually a better way to set up the redzone threats the Ravens already have. S. Smith should be able to move the ball up field quickly.
One interesting aspect that has been reported is that the Ravens are playing the Panthers at home this next season. The Panthers released S. Smith yesterday, so he will be able to show them what they missed out on when they come to play.
With the exception of Daryl Smith and Terrell Suggs deals, the Ravens have focused on the offense, which did poorly last season. Along with a new offensive coordinator, the offense is receiving much of the attention during free agency with focus on the Ravens’ own free agents.
Now, finally, they are moving out into the open water to help Flacco. Unless more moves are made in regards to wide receiver, it seems pretty well off, unless Jones is not set to be a starter, which could very much be true.
But after S. Smith’s signing, the Ravens need to take a glance at the offensive line. The arsenal of receivers means nothing if Flacco does not have any protection. Eugene Monroe needs some additional help to revamp the front line.
That is where I expect the Ravens to look next. It has to happen eventually, and it might as well be now.
Right now, Ravens’ fans can enjoy the re-signing of D. Smith and the signing of S. Smith. To mention, all these “Smiths” the Ravens have is going to get a bit confusing.
I am still happy to see S. Smith in Baltimore, and exited to see what he can bring the Ravens on the field.