With the reported signing of former Miami Dolphins QB John Beck, does this spell the end of Ravens QB Troy Smith's time in Baltimore? Smith has been a backup to both former Ravens and now St. Louis Ram Kyle Boller, and recently as backup to current starter Joe Flacco. Smith had a chance to start in 2007 and was thought to have the edge in starting in 2008, but the combination of illness and Flacco's amazing progress relegated him to the backup position once again. He did get in a bunch of games, and even threw a nice pass that Flacco caught on the run in the Oakland game. However, most of his appearances were in the Ravens "Suggs Package" and many ended with a frustrating timeout or basic run/handoff.
Now that the Ravens have brought in Beck, this does not bode well for Smith's future as a Raven, or at least 2nd string status. Beck was a project and favorite of former Dolphins head coach and now Ravens offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron, and should be given every opportunity to unseat Smith as second string QB. Beck was a high draft choice and thought to be the future QB of the Dolphins. However, the signing of free agent Chad Pennington last year, plus the drafting of former Michigan QB Chad Henne, much less this year's draft pick of former West Virginia QB, Pat White, all sealed Beck's demise in Miami.
Smith, a former Heisman Trophy winner at THE Ohio State University, was an afterthought as a 5th round draft pick by the Ravens in 2007. Despite his small stature and questionable NFL QB tools, Smith intrigued the Ravens and especially their fans, as he brought a sense of excitement to the field every time he stepped on it. At the same time, he never really had a chance to prove if he was able to overcome his so-called height issues and has been a valuable backup and "secret weapon" since Cameron became offensive coordinator.
This figured to continue and even expand in 2009 prior to the announcement of the Beck signing. While Beck possesses better pure passing skills, Smith brings a versatile option to the reserve QB role that Beck cannot compare with. Perhaps there will be room for both of them on the 53 man roster. Putting one of them on the Practice Squad would surely make them very attractive and easily accessible to any team that wanted to pluck them from our roster (Cleveland?).
The signing of undrafted free agent QB Drew Willy of Buffalo also puts another kink in the chain of events. Willy is a fine young QB, and even ESPN's Mel Kiper projected him to be the "next Tom Brady." There's no way the Ravens keep four QB' on their roster and the fact that Smith is a free agent after this season could very well mean that the Ravens have no intention of paying him the bucks he might want just to be a secret weapon and backup QB. A lot of other teams might just be interested in seeing what variables he could be to their offense (Cleveland?). Baltimore already knows but might not be willing in paying him what it might take to retain his services beyond 2009.
This could get interesting. Stay tuned.