Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith has never wavered from his desire to stay in Baltimore, but trying to determine his value might be the organization’s most difficult task this offseason.
He profiles best as a No. 2 receiver and is coming off a disappointing 2014 campaign, but the 26-year-old may learn other suitors are willing to pay more than the Ravens for his ability to stretch the field. That doesn’t mean Smith will simply sign with the highest bidder, however.
“I know guys [saying], ‘Whoever offers me the most money, I am going there,'” Smith told WNST.net in Phoenix this week. “That’s not necessarily the case for me, because there are so many different things that go into it. It’s going to be a tough decision.
“There are guys on teams that whether they believe it or not, they want to say, ‘This is the year.’ But they know come the middle of the season like, ‘This isn’t happening.’ In Baltimore, you know you have a chance every single year. That’s probably the best part, and it’s a strength of the organization.”
Of course, the Ravens must be judicious with their salary cap as they own a projected commitment of over $142 million for players currently under contract, according to Spotrac.com. General manager Ozzie Newsome could look to cut several veterans to clear space, but that doesn’t mean the necessary resources will be there to retain Smith if another team makes a lucrative offer.
After repeatedly expressing confidence that he wasn’t going anywhere, the 2011 second-round pick and University of Maryland product acknowledged the possibility late in the regular season that a deal might not be reached. Despite catching only 49 passes for a career-low 767 receiving yards, Smith caught a career-best 11 touchdowns and drew pass interference penalties on a regular basis to aid an offense that set franchise records for points score and total yards.
In 2014, Smith moved up to third on the franchise’s all-time receptions list and is now second in team history in touchdown receptions with 30 in four years. He hopes to continue moving up the list in 2015 and beyond.
“Everything’s going to take care of itself. The business is what it is,” Smith said. “We all understand that. Everyone knows where my heart is, but I understand it could possibly go the other way. I’m not really dwelling on anything. I’m just focusing on my family. I’m not nervous at all, because I know everything will take care of itself. You can’t really stress over things you can’t control. I try not to do it and when I do, things definitely don’t go my way.”
To keep his mind off the free-agent process, Smith has enrolled in the University of Miami’s new masters of business administration program geared toward professional athletes and artists. He’s already made a commitment to continue his charitable endeavors in Baltimore should he sign elsewhere as the Virginia native now considers Charm City his home.
Smith is trying not to think about what could happen if he hits the open market on March 10, but he knows he can’t take the easy way out of saying he’s leaving the decision solely in agent Drew Rosenhaus’ hands. And it would be difficult to walk away from the place where he got his start and has never experienced a losing season while also winning Super Bowl XLVII.
“At the end of the day, the decision will be on me and I understand that,” Smith said. “The agent does what they do. When the time comes to make a decision, I’ll make the best decision for [my wife and son]. You’ve got to go somewhere where you can believe you can win, and I’ll make the best decision all the way around.”