6:37pm: Smith is scheduled to fly to Baltimore tonight in order to meet with the Ravens tomorrow, a source tells ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).
5:32pm: The Smith market is starting to heat up now that he’s officially a free agent. According to Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter), the Ravens, Patriots, Chargers, Redskins, and Seahawks have all reached out so far. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports (via Twitter) that Baltimore expects to schedule a visit with Smith soon, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears from a source that no deal is imminent tonight (Twitter link).
12:26pm: Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link) clarifies that the Ravens haven’t reached out to Smith yet, and will do so later this afternoon when he’s officially off the Panthers’ roster.
11:00am: The Panthers officially announced today that Steve Smith has been released, and the Ravens have already inquired on the veteran wide receiver, according to ESPN.com’s David Newton (via Twitter). Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter) that Baltimore has emerged as the early favorite to land Smith.
The Ravens’ interest in Smith was first reported earlier this week, well before Carolina decided to release him, by Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. The Buccaneers and Raiders were also mentioned yesterday as likely suitors, and the Cowboys, Patriots, and Chargers were among Smith’s preferred trade destinations when Carolina was trying to move him, according to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.