Recent reports indicate that the Ravens are interested in locking up wide receiver Torrey Smith with a new contract, a move that makes perfect sense for both sides. Smith has shown that he possesses game breaking ability and still has the upside to be one of the best receivers in the league.
From a team perspective, it makes a lot of sense to lock Smith up this offseason. Wide receivers often break out in their third season, and Smith did just that last year while posting his first 1,000 yard performance in spite of the team’s offensive woes. He is very young at 25 and only projects to get better (and more expensive).
Smith is also entering the final year of his deal, and the Ravens would be wise to not let him test the market. Teams frequently overpay in free agency, particularly for young talent and especially at skill positions. Plus, Smith appears happy in Baltimore and has never expressed interest in playing for anyone else.
The biggest snag in a potential extension is just what type of receiver will Smith turn out to be? Is his ceiling as a true number one receiver, or is he just a dangerous deep threat? We have debated this before, and the team no doubt is going to aim for the lesser when coming up with a number.
All of which is fair, at least at this point in time. Smith is more of a second tier kind of guy right now. He isn’t quite in the league of the Calvin Johnsons or A.J. Greens just yet. Those are more complete receivers who can and do dominate regardless of defensive attention.
So what kind of money can Smith expect to see? We could use DeSean Jackson as an example, perhaps, a fellow speedster who had a breakout season last year as well. Jackson doesn’t have the flawless character that Smith does but did receive a four year, $32 million contract this offseason. Antonio Brown is in this class as well and inked a five year, $42.5 million extension with the Steelers.
Of course, Smith could just decide that he wants to prove himself as a top flight receiver this coming season and hold off on a new deal. One certainly couldn’t blame him for doing so, but it is a risk. He could post lesser numbers in the new offensive system or get hurt, either or which would affect his market and earning potential.
If Smith truly is happy in Baltimore, he will take the second tier deal and avoid the circus that comes with a contract season. And this is what we would expect, though money is sure to be a sticking point.
Do you think the Ravens should pay Torrey Smith like an elite receiver, or should he get a deal like Jackson or Brown?