The cold, hard reality of being a fan of an NFL team is the fact that your favorite player(s) can be gone within a blink of an eye. Sometimes while at the peak of their careers, players in the National Football League are cut or, now in today’s NFL, traded abruptly.
This week, the Baltimore Ravens said goodbye to two key players from their most recent championship team. First Torrey Smith. The debate over whether Smith is a number one receiver or not really isn’t a debate. The eye test says he doesn’t stack up with the elite wideouts in the game but his value is underrated. You cannot have an entire roster of number one receivers. You have to have role players and, in the right system, Torrey plays a key role.
His career high in both receptions (65) and yards (1,128) came in 2013. You remember 2013 don’t you? That was the year the Ravens traded Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta missed the season with a hip injury. Everyone in the stadium knew Joe Flacco had to go to Smith and he did, 137 times. Torrey also averaged over 17 yards per reception that season.
Torrey Smith has shown sizes of productivity in the right offense, but apparently this isn’t the right offense for him. Smith was allowed to test the free agent market and ultimately leave for the San Francisco 49ers. In four seasons he had 213 receptions for 3,591 yards and 30 touchdowns. Not bad for a guy who is not a number one receiver.
On Tuesday, we discovered that the Ravens were not going to reconstruct Haloti Ngata’s contract. Before you could wrap your brain around that, we found out that Ngata was being traded to the Detroit Lions. Ngata came to the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2006 draft, shortly after Ray Lewis said he needed help in front of him. Haloti answered the bell and provided that protection. He also established himself as one of the more feared defensive linemen in the NFL.
The Ravens gave the Detroit Lions a seventh-round pick along with Haloti and received a fourth and fifth round pick in return. Haloti joins former teammate James Ihedigbo in the Motor City.
Ngata was voted to five Pro Bowls and was First-Team All-Pro twice. He had 25.5 sacks and 4 interceptions during his career including one he returned for 60-yards in his first game as a rookie against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and two in 2014.