The Ravens have reached an agreement on a three-year contract with veteran wide receiver Steve Smith. The deal has been confirmed by an NFL source Friday, and was first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN.
It was the culmination of a huge day for the Ravens, who persuaded Smith to visit Thursday night, then signed him just one day the Panthers released him. Smith was considering visiting other teams, but the Ravens persuaded him to sign before he ever left town.
Smith is the Panthers’ all-time leading receiver, and became a franchise icon during his 13 seasons with Carolina. He turns 35 years old in May, and is coming off his least productive season (64 catches, 745 yards, four touchdowns) since 2010. However, Smith keeps himself in great shape, and should be highly motivated to prove he is still an elite receiver.
Those traits should benefit quarterback Joe Flacco, who lacked consistent possession receivers last season, particularly after Pitta was injured during training camp. Smith is also a willing downfield blocker, which could make the Ravens’ running game more productive.
Acquiring Smith does not mean the Ravens are finished adding playmakers. They may draft a wide receiver or tight end, or even pursue another free agent wide receiver. However, the Ravens coveted Smith from the moment he was released. Without any delay, the Ravens got their man.