When Torrey Smith begins to negotiate his new contract this offseason, it's not going to be as lucrative as both he and the Ravens would have hoped. In fact, it's possible that Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns could be his last in Baltimore.
Most Ravens fans certainly don't want to see Smith leave, and judging by his comments to ESPN's Jamison Hensley, he doesn't want to go either.
"As bad as it is not going to the playoffs, that's a horrible feeling knowing that it's a possibility I might not be here next year," Smith told Hensley.
If Smith were to sign elsewhere, it would be the latest in a string of big losses for the City of Baltimore. Smith was recently nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. For all of their work in the community, Smith, his wife Chanel and his infant son T.J. have essentially been adopted as the First Family of Baltimore.
Seeing Smith's inconsistencies has been disappointing because you can only root for genuinely good people to succeed, and that's exactly what Smith is. However, football is a business and it's the reason anyone knows Smith in the first place. What he does on the football field not only dictates where he's going to play, but how much money is included on his contract.
Smith's lackluster season is comprised of 45 receptions (T-83rd in NFL), 684 yards (59th in NFL), but he does have a career-high 10 touchdowns (T-10th in NFL). While Smith's yardage is low, some of that has to do with the fact that Smith draws more pass interference calls against a secondary than I've ever seen in my life.
Regardless, this is a down year for Smith and not one he likely wants to bring to the negotiation table. He essentially told ESPN that.
"My season has been so up and down," Smith told ESPN's Hensley. "For me, I have very high expectations for myself. To me, it's a big disappointment. That's my personal opinion. I wasn't as consistent as I wanted to be. I know it could have been better for various reasons. No. 1 reason being myself."
Smith then said, "I guarantee you it won't be like that next year or when we get in the playoffs."
If Smith is as confident that this season is just a hiccup, then I'd suggest he took a look at what Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin did prior to the start of the season. Maclin was coming off a 69 reception, 857 yards and seven touchdowns 2012 season. Maclin suffered an ACL tear and missed all of the 2013 season. He was offered a middle of the road extension by the Eagles, declined it and gambled on himself.
Maclin signed a one-year, $5.5 million deal and EXPLODED.
Whether it's in Philadelphia or elsewhere, Maclin will be laughing all the way to the bank. He and Smith both have ten touchdowns, but Maclin also has 82 receptions and 1,269 yards.
Given the pride Smith has and how hard he's worked to even get to this point of his career, there's a chance he'll likely do the same as Maclin once he finds out what his market value is. Knowing that he'll be better next season and will get a low-ball offer from the Ravens or elsewhere, why not gamble on yourself?
If both he and offensive Gary Kubiak stay in Baltimore for another season, things could certainly be a lot different. Smith had to deal with yet another new offense to learn this past offseason and was a new father as well. It's safe to say that there were distractions aplenty for Smith, so returning to some normalcy in 2015 could do his career (and bank account) a whole lot of good.
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