FRIDAY, 12:22pm: Ravens head coach John Harbaugh confirmed today that the team has no plans to trade Smith, telling reporters, “There is no chance of that. I wouldn’t part with him” (Twitter link). According to Smith, he would retire immediately if the Ravens traded him: “I like to finish what I started” (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun).
THURSDAY, 5:08pm: Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. said earlier this week that he’s “still on schedule” to retire at season’s end and that has led some to speculate that the 1-5 Ravens might move him to a contender for his final campaign. However, a source told Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports that such a deal is unlikely to happen. In fact, Baltimore is more likely to try and convince him to change his mind about retiring and return for the 2016 season.
Smith has already talked things over with GM Ozzie Newsome, according to the report, and Newsome informed Smith that he won’t be going anywhere between now and the trade deadline on November 3rd. Smith, 36, has 36 catches for 510 yards and three touchdowns through five ames. The 510 yards put him 12th in the NFL despite him missing a full game with four broken bones in his back, and his 102 receiving yards per game place him fourth in the league among qualified receivers.
With Smith likely off the trade market, that eliminates one receiver possibility for the 6-0 Packers, who are without Jordy Nelson for the 2015 season. The 5-0 Panthers are another team that could use help at the position, but it was hard to imagine a reunion there anyway given the frosty relationship between Smith and GM Dave Gettleman.
Smith signed a three-year contract with the Ravens prior to the 2014 season and remains under contract for 2016. Interestingly, Edholm hears from a source that Newsome is believed to have told Smith that the team has no intentions of trying to recoup any of his prorated signing bonus – $3.5MM – for not fulfilling the final year of his deal.
“[Smith] trusts them,” the source told Yahoo Sports. “I don’t think he’d be happy if they did suddenly trade him out of the blue, but he believes they have no plans of that anyway.”
The question now is – can the Ravens convince Smith to play out that 2016 season? While Smith seems comfortable in his decision, another season playing at a high level could further strengthen his chances of going to the Hall of Fame. Smith seems likely to bypass several notable names to place ninth in all-time receiving yards, but he may need more games to leapfrog the likes of Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison.