"This is to notify you that as of today, I, Steve Smith Sr., will no longer be antagonizing defensive backs. I am retiring from the National Football League."
In his illustrious 16-year career, Smith made five Pro Bowls and was named First Team All-Pro twice. He is 12th in career receptions (1,031), 7th in receiving yards (14,731) and 26th in touchdowns (81). He will be missed.
For many NFL players it would be a slap in the face to be overlooked after having the season Kamar Aiken did last year, putting up nearly 1,000 receiving yards and 75 catches.
“I’m not working hard enough,” Aiken said. “I probably have to do a little more.”
Much of the buzz surrounding Ravens training camp has centered on when Steve Smith Sr.and Breshad Perriman are going to come back – and with good reason. They’re two key players.
Meanwhile, just as he did last year when Smith and Perriman were injured, Aiken has gone about his business of being the Ravens’ most impressive wide receiver on the field.
Aiken became a starter, and the team’s top target, last season. Now he’s looking to keep a stranglehold on it when everyone’s healthy. Fortunately for Aiken, it's a position that's had its share of setbacks. Back in June those who follow the team felt Aiken was the best WR2 option but that remains to be seen with Smith, Perriman and now Wallace all in the fold.
It's difficult to project the Baltimore receiving corps. Steve L Smith seems to be the WR1 if healthy, but he's 37 years old and coming off of a season-ending injury. Breshad Perriman was a 1st round pick and the team signed Mike Wallace in the offseason. Aiken was the most productive receiver in 2015 and is certainly the best bet to replace Smith if he were to miss any time.
Mike Wallace signed with the Ravens on Tuesday for two years at the same $11.5 million in salary and said at a press conference that he’s looking forward to playing with Joe Flacco, whose years with Baltimore have featured plenty of deep balls that turned into catches or pass interference penalties.
“You have a quarterback that can really sling the ball,” Wallace said, via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. “That’s what I need.”
There are a lot of question marks in the Ravens receiving corps, but things should look a lot better than they did this year if Wallace revive his deep threat credentials while Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman return from injuries in good form.
Wallace is a good fit for Joe Flacco's big arm. The Ravens didn't have a deep threat last season with Torrey Smith gone and Breshad Perriman on the shelf. Wallace is past his prime but he's bound to have a few big games given his ability to go deep. Consider him a WR5 type if Perriman is healthy.