Ever since the Panthers released wide receiver Steve Smith on Wednesday, the Baltimore Ravens were seen as the heavy favorites to sign the 13-year vet. And they have, to a three-year contract according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The deal is reportedly worth about $11 million and containts a $3.5 million signing bonus.
Smith caught 64 passes last season for 745 yards and four touchdowns. His 11.6 yards-per-catch average was his lowest since 2007.
Still, those are pretty solid numbers for a man coming off his age-34 season. Can he really play at even that level through age 37? That seems unlikely, but Smith has held Father Time at bay seemingly forever.
For fantasy purposes, this is a nice signing for Joe Flacco as it gives him a third dependable option alongside wide receiver Torrey Smith and tight end Dennis Pitta. That could make Flacco a solid QB2. Perhaps Torrey sees fewer targets with Steve in town, but I don't think his numbers will drop significantly. I am more confident that Steve will help Torrey see more single coverage, which would be a plus for the latter.
Steve Smith no longer has blazing speed, but he runs great routes and can still school defenders with the best of them. However, that doesn't mean this signing breathes new life into his fantasy value -- he's probably a middling WR3 at best in 2014. He is no longer an offense's No. 1 receiving option. And again, he's heading into his age-35 season.