Is Torrey Smith pricing himself out of the Baltimore Ravens’ market?


Nov 24, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) tries to elude the tackle of New Orleans Saints strong safety Kenny Vaccaro (32) in the fourth quarter of their game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Torrey Smith has long been a fan favorite in Baltimore, and if he keeps up his touchdown streak, he may end up a fan favorite somewhere else this offseason.

In the past four games, Smith has generated 301 yards receiving and four touchdowns on 20 catches. Those are No. 1 receiver numbers, especially considering Smith has caught 68.9 percent of his targets during that stretch.

And Smith has passed the eye test as well. In his best game of the year, a 98-yard effort in New Orleans, Smith played like a man possessed, generating a ton of yards after the catch and fighting hard in the blocking game as well.

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  • There is a misconception that Torrey Smith is a top-tier deep threat. Unfortunately for the Ravens, that’s not true, as Torrey has dropped a full quarter of his deep targets according to Pro Football Focus (four drops in 16 targets). His ability to convert on deep throws is middle of the pack, and he rarely gains much after the catch on such plays. His tendency to draw penalties is a plus, but all in all, Torrey is just average on the deep ball.

    With that in mind, offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak has made a point to emphasize Smith in the short and intermediate passing game, and the move has paid off. With a less predictable repertoire of routes, Torrey has been more effective in the deep passing game, continuing to draw pass interferences while producing numerous big gains.

    Smith has been a much bigger part of the offense, arguably overtaking Steve Smith as the No. 1 target, and Torrey has made the most of his increased targets. Now the Ravens have to wonder if Torrey has played himself out of the Ravens’ price range.

    The contract that comes to mind as a comparison would be Eric Decker‘s five-year, $36.25 million deal. Decker had some incredibly productive years with Denver. Questions about his ability to excel without Peyton Manning held back his value, so even though Torrey has not quite had Decker’s production, their price may end up similar.

    At that price, the Ravens probably can’t afford to re-sign Torrey. As of this writing, the Ravens have around $136 million on the books for next season according to Over the Cap, which could be over next year’s cap (next year’s salary cap number has yet to be released).

    Even if the Ravens can afford Torrey, they can probably spend their money better elsewhere. As good as Torrey has been the past four games, he is a limited player best cast as a secondary option in the passing game. He hasn’t developed any new skills over the past few years to change that. What Torrey will end up getting is a whole heck of a lot for a complementary target.

    Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Torrey’s early season lull depresses his value, or maybe other teams aren’t as high on him as I expect. In that case, the Ravens would be wise to re-sign him if they can get a price under $5 million per year.

    Either way, Ravens’ fans should celebrate. Torrey is a class act, and if he gets a big deal elsewhere, it will be well deserved. If Torrey ends up re-signing with the Ravens on an affordable deal, that’s great too.