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Steve Smith signs 3-year deal with Baltimore Ravens

Steve Smith tasted free agency for the first time in his 13-year career and lasted just over 24 hours on the open market.

After spending Friday in Baltimore, the greatest player in Carolina Panthers' history signed a three-year contract with the Ravens worth up to $12 million, a source informed of the team's actions has told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. The deal comes with a $3.5 million signing bonus. 

The Ravens subsequently announced the move.

Smith canceled a scheduled visit to New England after general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh convinced him to stay, per Rapoport.

In addition to the Patriots, Smith told reporters he had interest from the Redskins, Seahawks and other unspecified teams -- plus an offer from the Chargers.

"I love the coach. I like the offensive scheme," Smith said, after signing. "There is a lot of familiarity in some regards. But then also have a fresh new perspective. Everything seemed to jell."

Although he's clearly reached the decline phase of his career, Smith still fills Torrey Smith's request for a "move-the-chains" receiver in the vein of Anquan Boldin.

We don't buy into the sentiment that the one player with perhaps the biggest chip on his shoulder over the past decade suddenly will start playing with an even more furious vengeance. It is realistic to believe, however, that Smith will benefit from playing with Joe Flacco, who gives his receivers more chances to make plays at the point of the catch.

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Smith has professed a preference for playing more snaps out of the slot, which is where he's likely headed with Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown on the outside and Dennis Pitta as the "move" tight end.

On Friday's edition of the "Around The League Podcast," we predicted that Smith will generate 55-to 60 receptions for 750 to 800 yards and a handful of touchdowns with the Ravens this season.

From 2011 to 2012, Calvin Johnson was the only NFL player with more pass plays of at least 20 yards than Smith. Last season, there were 135 players with more pass plays of at least 20 yards.

The Ravens can rest assured that Torrey Smithhas graduated to the dangerous playmaker role, allowing the elder Smith to take over the possession-receiver job more suited to his diminished speed and leaping ability.

With the Panthers on the Ravens' 2014 schedule, we will be treated to one of the most dominant wide receivers of his generation promising "blood and guts everywhere."

*The latest "Around The League Podcast" recaps the wild start of free agency. *

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