Now that wide receiver Steve Smith has arrived in Baltimore via his three-year, $11 million contract, he fills the void of physicality and toughness created a year ago when the Ravens traded Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers following a contract dispute.
Both Smith and Boldin excel at making contested catches, are fearless going across the middle, have a mean stiff arm and posses the veteran savvy of understanding spacing and body control. Both are feisty on the field and regarded as leaders in the locker room.
After signing his three-year, $11 million contract that includes a $3.5 million signing bonus, Smith emphasized that he's not interested in comparisons to Boldin.
“I can tell you this: I’m not Anquan Boldin," Smith said during a conference call. "I respect the heck out of ‘Q,’ and what ‘Q’ brings to the table is what ‘Q’ brings to the table. I’m Steve Smith, and what I bring to the table as a Baltimore Raven, I have to earn that, and my time on the field will display what I bring to the table.
Boldin, 33, is a three-time Pro Bowl selection who caught 85 passes for 1,179 yards and seven touchdowns last season with the 49ers. Boldin is bigger at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds and isn't nearly as fast as Smith with a pedestrian 4.71 time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine coming out of Florida State, but has game speed and is a powerful tackle-breaking presence. He has caught 857 passes for 11,344 yards and 79 touchdowns in 11 NFL seasons. During his three seasons with the Ravens, Boldin caught 186 passes for 2,645 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Smith, 34, is a five-time Pro Bowl selection who dipped to 64 catches for 745 yards and four touchdowns last season. A compact 5-foot-9, 185-pounder who entered the NFL with 4.39 speed in the 40-yard dash, Smith has a history of being a deep threat. In 13 NFL seasons, he's caught 857 passes for 12,197 yards and 67 touchdowns.
"My comparison to Anquan, I can’t [compare], because I respect the heck out of that guy and what he brings to the table and who he is," Smith said. "We play similar games. We want to win and we go all-out. But we’re also individuals, and so I’m not here to replace anyone. I’m here to be myself.”