Steve Smith released; Ravens show interest in wide receiver


Steve Smith is looking for a new team to play for. (Grant Halverson / Getty Images)

No sooner than the Carolina Panthers released wide receiver Steve Smith, the face of their franchise for so long, than the Baltimore Ravens reportedly emerged as his most likely landing spot.

“Steve Smith has been one of the NFL’s finest receivers for over a decade and has been the face of the franchise for a large part of the team’s history,” General Manager Dave Gettleman said in a statement released by the team. “This was not an easy decision. As a team, we made a step forward last year; however we are also a team in transition, which is a part of the NFL.”

Smith, who spent 13 seasons with the Panthers, had been on the trading block, with no takers stepping forward. He ranks 25th all-time in the NFL with 836 catches and 19th all-time with 12,197 receiving yards.

A little later, he seemed to have moved on:

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Ravens, who re-signed Jacoby Jones on Thursday, were the front-runner for Smith, who will turn 35 in May. Smith’s performance has fallen off the last two seasons and Hakeem Nicks, according to the Charlotte Observer, is the Panthers’ top free-agent target.

Steve Smith's route chart in 2013. (Courtesy Pro Football Focus)
Steve Smith’s route chart in 2013. (Courtesy Pro Football Focus)
After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren | March 13