A passing game that sputtered beyond chain-mover Anquan Boldin, who they acquired from the Ravens, last season, the 49ers could lose the inconsistent Michael Crabtree and thus have a spot for Smith. The Ravens wideout has never missed a game due to injury in four seasons and posted yards-per-reception averages of 17.4 in 2012 and 2013 — fourth and fifth in the NFL in those years, respectively.
Smith’s deep-ball proficiency waned a bit last year, as the former second-round pick’s per-catch figure slid to 15.7. But the 26-year-old established a new touchdown career high with 11 and would be an upgrade over a 49ers corps that relied on aging Brandon Lloyd for sporadic deep-ball reps last season.
Behind possibly Jeremy Maclin now that Randall Cobb agreed to a deal to stay with the Packers, Smith won’t come cheap on a wideout market that’s now seen its top three players — counting the franchise-tagged Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas — removed.
Some other pieces of information from the free agency “soft opening” …
- Several league executives reportedly have the Dolphins as the frontrunners for the premier free agent, Ndamukong Suh, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. The Chargers and Jaguars remain the mix for the 28-year-old defensive tackle. The Dolphins, who have just more than $9MM of cap room, are also targeting mid-level cornerbacks, with Patrick Robinson (Saints), Shareece Wright (Chargers) and Robert McClain (Falcons) on their radar.
- Washington looked into Chargers corner Marcus Gilchrist and remains in talks with Brian Orakpo, the Washington Post’s Mike Jones summarized. Those talks with Orakpo, who missed nine games with a torn pectoral muscle last year, were lengthy on Saturday.
- As Smith and Pernell McPhee can probably see more money elsewhere, the Ravens’ free agency hesitancy looks to continue, reports the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec. The Ravens’ top four 2015 cap figures are homegrown players, and that should remain the case with less than $5MM of cap space (OverTheCap).”They are not going to be one of these teams that act like they have money burning a hole in their pocket. … One, they don’t have the cap room to do it, and two, that hasn’t been their M.O. Nobody should expect them to turn into the Miami Dolphins or the Tampa Buccaneers of the past couple of years,” CBS Sports’ Joel Corry told Zrebiec.