Coming off the heels of the Daryl Smith signing, comes the recently completed deal for former Panthers WR Steve Smith.
Smith; who will be 35 by the time the season starts, has admittedly lost a step or two and also is humble enough to realize he’s not a number one receiver anymore. Still, his tough as nails approach, his sure hands, and his ability to make the tough catches is exactly the kind of player the Ravens needed to bring in house. They also did it at a relatively cheap price. Smith gets a 3 year deal worth $11 million on paper. Everyone knows it isn’t what is on the paper though, it is what is guaranteed. At least you should know that much. On that note, Smith gets $3.5 million up front in signing bonus, and a $1 million salary for 2014. If he plays in 2015 and 2016 for the Ravens, he will get $3 million each season in base, and has a chance to earn another $1 million if he plays 60% of the downs. So in essence, this is a 1 year deal for $4.5 million. The Ravens can cut him after 2014 and not owe him a penny as far as the details are concerned so far.
Smith isn’t a typical big, over the middle, jump ball mold of a guy, but that is exactly how he plays. The Ravens wanted that other go-to type guy that they lost with Pitta and Boldin being out. A guy who can catch the ball in traffic, move the chains, and just make those critical catches that you SHOULD catch. That was severely lacking last season with the replacements of Ed Dickson, Dallas Clark, and Brandon Stokely.
This move gives the Ravens a WR set of Torrey Smith (speed, deep ball guy), Jacoby Jones (vertical threat, speed burner), Marlon Brown (big, tough, over the middle guy), Steve Smith (3rd down go to guy), Deonte Thompson and Aaron Mallette. The latter two might be bumped off the roster depending on how the draft goes. Combined with the elusive when healthy Ray Rice, and sure handed Dennis Pitta…the Ravens have plenty of weapons now, and could get even better with another playmaker like TE Eric Ebron or a WR like Mike Evans.
But, now that the weapons have been addressed, Ozzie Newsome may now turn to the other areas that need some special attention. The D-Line lost a very valuable Arthur Jones. Is Brandon Williams ready to step up? Ngata hasn’t been the same guy for the past couple of seasons, and Cody has been a bust considering where he was drafted. The O-line is likely to lose Micheal Oher, Gradkowski was ineffective at C, and Osemele’s back may not be 100%. The secondary also lost James Ihedigbo and Corey Graham. Not superstars by any stretch, but they were very useful players that at times made impacts. There are still some good players left on the FA market. Will Ozzie set back now and let the market come to him, will be be able to draft for our needs, or will he do that cut day and UDFA magic like he has so many times before?