The Carolina Panthers have officially cut veteran wide receiver Steve Smith, a transaction that could be signficant to the Ravens' passing game.
The Ravens are expected to heavily pursue Smith and the interest is mutual from the five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver, according to sources.
They will have competition, though.
Smith is also expected to draw interest from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers.
The Ravens have been monitoring the Smith situation.
Derrick Fox, the agent for Smith, told The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday that this was headed toward a divorce.
"It's obvious the Panthers are going in a different direction with their receiving corps," Fox said in a telephone interview. "Steve will be throwing on a jersey for another team to be named soon."
Smith, 34, is an athletic, feisty receiver capable of going across the middle or gaining separation deep. The Ravens haven't had a player like Smith since trading Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers. For his career, Smith has 836 receptions for 12,197 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Smith dealt with injuries last season and caught 64 passes for 745 yards and averaged 11.6 yards per reception, his second-lowest production of his career.
Smith returned by the playoffs after a late-season injury and appeared to have regained his form in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers with four catches, 74 yards and a touchdown.
“He can play,” Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones said during a news conference Thursday after signing his four-year, $14 million contract. “It would be nice [to have him]. I’m open arms. If you can play, and they like you, then I love you.”