If released by the Carolina Panthers, the Ravens should be strong players in obtaining Smith.
I must admit, the prospect of Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith joining the Ravens has me gushing like a school girl.
It has been widely reported the Panthers are attempting to trade their greatest player in franchise history. By shopping Smith around, the team seems determined to not commit $7 million to a 35-year-old wide receiver once training camp begins. The combination of Smith’s price tag and age will likely mean he’ll be released in the very near future.
With the amount of wide receiver talent in this year’s draft, the Ravens won’t ignore bettering their team for the future, but adding Smith will be a great compliment to an offense that struggled mightily.
Here’s five reasons the Ravens need to pounce on Smith if he’s made available:
No. 1: He’s still productive
Even at 34 years old and having a quarterback who can’t really be labeled a pocket passer, Smith was still productive. Last season, he caught 64 passes for 745 yards and four touchdowns.
Strictly looking at stats, the Ravens’ top-overall receiver, Torrey Smith, caught one more pass than (Steve) Smith and both tied in touchdowns.
No. 2: The financials
Despite his production, it’s not wise to commit $7 million to an aging wide receiver, as both Smith and the Panthers are finding out. Given the stipulations in Smith’s contract, whichever team signs him will benefit from $3 million of dead money the Panthers will be depositing into Smith’s bank account this season.
The Ravens could get Smith in somewhere in the $2-3 million range for this season and he’d still walk away making between $5-6 million to play football in 2014.
If I were the Ravens, I’d rescind any offer made to Jacoby Jones aside from the veteran minimum if he truly wants to be in Baltimore. Smith provides more value to the Ravens offense and the team as a whole versus Jones’ playmaking abilities on special teams.
I’d love to see Jones back, but I believe having Smith in purple and black next year is even more of a priority.
No. 3: He’ll restore toughness into the offense
The Ravens weren’t able to replace Anquan Boldin’s offensive leadership ever since they traded him to San Francisco. Boldin was a bulldog on the football field and the offensive motivational leader in the locker room or when the team struggled.
Boldin was fiery wideout, but Smith wrote the textbook in the modern era of football on how to be feisty.
The scrappy Smith will never back down from a fight, and I’m not just talking about going for the football. He’s a general in the locker room and someone his teammates will want to work hard for.
No. 4: He needs to win
General Manager Ozzie Newsome’s “right player, right price” motto wouldn’t be possible if the Ravens weren’t consistent winners. Part of having the “right price” means that you can offer a player something he can’t get with the majority of other suitors. In this case, the Ravens’ winning culture and consistency has value to players like Smith.
Throughout his career, the Panthers have been anything but consistent when it comes to the postseason. With only four playoff appearances, Smith and the Panthers lost Super Bowl XXXVII, the only appearance for either of them.
No. 5: Baltimore Is Already Preparing For His Arrival
Here’s a tweet from the owner of a very popular restaurant of Ravens fans and players, Jimmy’s Famous Seafood.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>If the Ravens sign Steve Smith my hand to God I will serve 89 cent beers 89 cent crabs at Jimmy's to celebrate.</p>— John Minadakis (@JohnnyCrabCakes) <a href=”https://twitter.com/JohnnyCrabCakes/statuses/443164759387815936″>March 10, 2014</a></blockquote>
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