The chances of Steve Smith playing for the Ravens next season are greater than the chances of him being traded.
With Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline looming, it’s no surprise teams are calling the Ravens to see if Smith is available. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, multiple teams have inquired to see if the Ravens would deal Smith, but the Ravens have told everyone that Smith is not available.
Both Ravens coach John Harbaugh and Smith squashed the Smith trade rumors last month. Harbaugh said there was “no chance” the Ravens would trade Smith.
Smith took it a step further, saying he would probably quit if the Ravens traded him. Why? Smith is happy with the Ravens, despite their 1-6 record, and he wants to finish his career with them. There are no guarantees Smith would win a Super Bowl regardless of where he was traded, and he has made peace with the possibility that he may retire without a ring.
The bigger question is whether Smith will stick to his retirement plans. He’s still the Ravens’ best receiver at age 36, and his agent, Derrick Fox, isn’t squashing the possibility of Smith returning next season.
“I think he’s committed to the concept (of retirement), but I don’t think that the reality of it has set in that it means he can’t do what he loves to do and lives to do,” Fox told Jim Trotter of ESPN recently. “Pick me out any stadium on any Sunday anywhere in the NFL, and there’s not a guy that comes out on that field that loves to compete more than Steve – and he’s never lost that.
“I know this guy better than anybody but his wife. I’ve told him, ‘I don’t think you’re really going to retire.’ The guy is just an insane competitor, and I think as long as his body works appropriately he’s really going to have a hard time next August saying, ‘Oh wow. Guys are going to camp’. He’s never experienced it his entire life, and he’s got a lot left in the tank.”
When asked to gauge the chance that Smith would return next season, Fox said. “I’m right at 50-50.”
The Ravens would give Smith as much time as he needed to reconsider his plans to retire. And that’s a major reason they are telling teams that Smith is not available.