The Baltimore Ravens added a veteran presence to their receiving corps when they signed wide receiver Steve Smith on Friday.
The 34-year old Smith played 13 seasons for the Carolina Panthers. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the three-year contract is worth $11.5 million with a $3.5 million signing bonus.
Smith was courted by other teams, but decided on the Ravens because of their great success integrating older and younger players. Playing for the Ravens will be intriguing and challenging for Smith, plus he loved the uniforms.
Smith describes himself as “Old guy in age. Young guy in spirit.” He’s had 1,000 or more receiving yards in each of his 13 seasons with the Panthers. Last season his numbers decreased due to injuries, he had 64 receptions for 745 yards and four touchdowns.
He will fill the void left last season after the Ravens traded veteran receiver Anquan Boldin. Smith is expected to be the No. receiver.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome believes Smith is a good fit for Baltimore:
“We’ve added one of the top competitors in the NFL to the Ravens,” Newsome said. “Steve is a proven player who has performed his best in big games and on the biggest stages like the playoffs and Super Bowl. He adds toughness to our offense, big-play ability and leadership to our team.”
Head coach John Harbaugh added:
“Steve is a Ravens-style football player, he always has been in our eyes, it’s just that he’s been playing for another team.”
The biggest objection I heard about Smith is his age, he turns 35 in May, however Anquan Boldin isn’t much younger, he turns 34 in early October. I think Smith is an excellent fit for the Ravens; he is tough and will not only lead on the field, but in the locker room. I can’t wait to see him hit the field in September.
In other Ravens news, offensive tackle Michael Oher signed a four-year, $20 million deal with the Tennessee Titans. The Ravens will likely find his replacement in the draft or free agency.
I wish I could say I am sad to see Oher leave Baltimore, but unfortunately he never lived up the expectations the Ravens had when they drafted him five years ago. Good luck in Tennessee.