SAN FRANCISCO—Former Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith is expected to sign with the San Francisco 49ers.
The speedster, who played in Baltimore for three seasons with current Niners receiver Anquan Boldin, was heavily recruited by his former teammate in the days leading up the opening of the NFL’s free agency period.
The signing for all intents and purposes spells the end of the Michael Crabtree era, as the former 10th-overall pick has also hit the open market and is expected to command a large salary.
It is unlikely that the team will be able to retain Crabtree’s services after signing Smith to his own hefty long-term deal.
During his five-year career, Smith has established himself as one of the league’s premier deep-threats, possessing a rare combination of size and speed that enables the Maryland product to get behind NFL defensive backs and make plays on the ball.
Smith has struggled to establish himself as a legitimate number-one receiver, and has a propensity to flash in some games and disappear in others.
In San Francisco, he will be expected to develop into a more polished and complete product, a player worthy of the premier paycheck he is expected to receive from the 49ers.