Could this Sunday be his final game as a Raven?
"As bad as it is not going to the playoffs, that's a horrible feeling knowing that it’s a possibility that I might not be here next year," Smith said. "But I’m not really worried about that. I’m trying to win this game and see what happens."
Smith, 25, is the most high-profile Ravens player nearing the end of his contract (along with running back Justin Forsett) and will be an unrestricted free agent in March if the Ravens don't use the franchise tag on him (which isn't expected to happen because of the hefty $12 million-plus number for one year).
Smith has said in the past he would like to stay, and he talked last week about how Baltimore will remain his home after his playing days are over. The entire Ravens brain trust -- from owner Steve Bisciotti to general manager Ozzie Newsome to coach John Harbaugh -- has expressed a desire to keep him.
The difficulty is placing a value on Smith. He's one of the best deep threats in the NFL. Since 2011, his 20 catches of passes that have traveled at least 30 yards ranks fourth in the league, and his 16.7 yards per catch is No. 5 (one spot ahead of Calvin Johnson). Smith has also emerged as one of the stronger leaders in the locker room.
But Smith has never developed into a No. 1 receiver. Over the past four seasons, his 209 receptions ranks 50th in the NFL.
This season, with one game remaining, Smith has caught 45 passes for 684 yards and 10 touchdowns. His receptions and receiving yards currently rank as the fewest of his four-year career.
"My season has been so up and down," Smith said. "For me, I have very high expectations for myself. To me, it’s a big disappointment. That’s my personal opinion. I wasn’t as consistent as I wanted to be. I know it could’ve been better for various reasons. No. 1 reason being myself. I look at myself in my mirror. I guarantee you it won’t be like that next year or when we get in the playoffs."
Here is a look at Smith's up-and-down season:
In Smith's first five games, he had 11 catches for 176 yards (35.2 yards per game) and one touchdown.
From Weeks 6 to 13 (seven games), Smith had 27 catches for 433 yards (61.8 yards per game) and seven touchdowns.
In Weeks 14 and 15, Smith was limited to two catches for 16 yards and no touchdowns because of a right knee injury.
Then on Sunday, Smith caught five passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite Smith's inconsistency this season, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has seen the development from a second-round pick who struggled with catching the ball in 2011 to someone he believes can be a 100-catch receiver.
“I think it all starts with the confidence that [Smith] has -- and obviously his ability -- but the confidence that he has in his ability to go out there and make the plays and be that guy," Flacco said. "I think he has been doing a great job of understanding the game plan, going out there running his routes, catching the football. He’s catching the football, and when you do that, you give yourself a lot of opportunities to make plays and get yardage after the catch. I think he has really grown in that area.”
Still, no one knows whether Smith will continue to develop as a receiver for the Ravens or somewhere else. When the Ravens play the Cleveland Browns on Sunday in a must-win game, Smith said he won't be thinking about his future.
"You have to be locked in on what’s going on. That’s winning," Smith said. "I’m always going to give my all and winning. Obviously, all that stuff takes care of itself."