Ravens: Smith moves toward the exit
Despite Torrey Smith enduring a disappointing season to wrap up his four year rookie contract, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti implied on Tuesday that the team were somewhat resigned to losing the wide receiver when the free agent window opens on March 10th. Citing Smith’s game breaking ability down the field, and drawing comparisons to Mike Wallace, Bisciotti implied that Smith would likely receive an offer in free agency that the cap strapped Ravens couldn’t afford to match.
It’s a fair comparison in terms of play style, but as a deep threat Smith isn’t quite in the same bracket as Wallace was when he hit free agency two years ago. Both players suffered a drop off production on deep passes while in the final season of their rookie contracts. However Wallace was the more consistent in terms of yards (1765 deep yards in four years), and touchdowns (22 touchdowns through four seasons for Wallace, 11 for Smith) down the field throughout his first four years in the league.
In spite of not being on Wallace’s level, Smith will still be the premier deep wide receiver available in free agency, which means he will likely receive a contract offer commensurate with that standing. Whichever team signs Smith, the key to getting the best out of him will be to get on top of the drops that plagued him this season. Five drops to eight catches on downfield targets is a poor return; a lot of production was left on the field in 2014 that Smith could easily re-discover in 2015.