Smith signs 3-year deal with Ravens
March 16, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
Longtime standout wide receiver Steve Smith didn't waste time finding a new home, signing a three-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens about 24 hours after being released by the Carolina Panthers.
The Ravens announced the signing of the 34-year-old Smith on Friday. He was released by the Panthers after 13 seasons.
In other moves on another busy day of NFL free agency, linebacker Brandon Spikes agreed to a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills and veteran cornerback Cortland Finnegan and guard Shelley Smith signed deals with the Miami Dolphins.
Steve Smith said he had a contract offer from the San Diego Chargers and cancelled a visit with the New England Patriots scheduled for Monday. One of the reasons he chose Baltimore, he noted, is because it's about a one-hour flight to Charlotte, North Carolina, where his family will continue to live.
Smith ranks 19th in the NFL in career receptions. He caught 64 passes for 746 yards and four touchdowns in 2013.
Baltimore has had a void at wide receiver since trading Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers after winning the Super Bowl in February 2013. The Ravens went 8-8 last season and missed the playoffs for the first time in six years.
The Ravens and linebacker Daryl Smith also agreed on a four-year deal Friday that solidifies the middle of Baltimore's defense. Smith started all 16 games for the Ravens in 2013 and led the team with 123 tackles.
Spikes is regarded as a key addition for a Buffalo defense that struggled against the run last season and is under transition with Jim Schwartz taking over as coordinator. Spikes had 86 tackles and an interception last season for New England.
Finnegan, who was an All-Pro player in 2008, started only five games last year, when he was sidelined by a hamstring injury and then an eye injury that required surgery. The St. Louis Rams signed him to a US$50 million, five-year contract in 2012 but recently released him, his career in apparent in decline.
Shelley Smith agreed to a US$5.5 million, two-year deal. He reinforces a troubled offensive line that gave up a franchise-record 58 sacks last year. Four of the five starters have departed, including tackle Jonathan Martin and guard Richie Incognito, who were involved in the team's bullying scandal.
Smith started eight games over the past two seasons for the Rams, including two last year.
Elsewhere, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said he's been released by the Tennessee Titans, who signed Charlie Whitehurst on Thursday to back up starter Jake Locker. Fitzpatrick started nine games for the Titans last season and went 217 of 350 for 2,454 yards with 14 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions.