Steve Smith released by Panthers; Ravens ‘favorite’ to sign him
As expected, the Carolina Panthers released Steve Smith on Thursday. He is expected to draw interest from a number of teams, with Adam Schefter reporting that the Baltimore Ravens are the favorite to sign the 35-year-old veteran.
There is no doubt that Smith has lost a step. He appeared to revive his career when Cam Newton became the starting quarterback in Carolina, but he caught just 64 passes for 745 yards and four touchdowns last season. Smith is no longer a downfield threat or a No. 1 receiving option, but he can still be a possession receiver who plays with a physical attitude and isn’t afraid of contact.
Baltimore has been lacking a possession receiver since Anquan Boldin left. Many expected Torrey Smith to emerge as a legitimate No. 1 receiver last season, and you could argue that he did by eclipsing the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the first time in his career. However, Torrey is still more of a burner. Steve could help the Ravens in the middle part of the field and open up the deep ball.
Other teams who will likely kick the tires on Smith include the New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots. At this point, it may come down to which team believes Smith’s performance on the field will outweigh his outspoken attitude, which wore out its welcome in Carolina. No team should expect fireworks on the field.