4:09pm: The Ravens have agreed to sign wide receiver Steve Smith, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The longtime Panther was released by Carolina earlier this week, and will ink a three-year contract with the Ravens, Schefter adds in a second tweet.
Even before he was officially cut by the Panthers, Smith was heavily linked to the Ravens, with multiple reports suggesting there was mutual interest between the two sides. The Buccaneers and Raiders were also mentioned as likely suitors, and the Cowboys, Patriots, and Chargers were reportedly among Smith’s preferred trade destinations when Carolina was trying to move him.
More recently, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter), the Seahawks were also in the mix to sign Smith, along with the Pats. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) hears from a source that the veteran receiver actually had a visit lined up with New England, but canceled his flight to remain in Baltimore.
Smith, who turns 35 in May, is 19th all-time in NFL history in receiving yards (12,197) and 25th in receptions (836). While he’s not the same explosive playmaker he was in his prime, he should still be a capable target for Joe Flacco alongside Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta in Baltimore. Last season, Smith grabbed 64 balls for 745 yards and four touchdowns.
Signing with Baltimore will also give Smith a chance to face his old team next season, as the Ravens are set to host the Panthers in 2014. In Smith’s words: “Put your goggles on cause there’s going to be blood and guts everywhere.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.