Time to click the Inbox and chase down some answers. You make this fun!
First up to bat: A thinking man's fan:
Steve, you're a sage of wisdom, reason, and truth. May my answer approach that standard. The interesting thing about Ravens Rookie WR Breshad Perriman, who inadvertently caused the collective anxiety level of Ravens fandom to rise 10 points (whatever that means) by never playing a snap in his first season or preseason due to injury, is that right at the beginning of his injury, the medical firm that rehabbed him in Florida was quoted as saying that his knee condition from before was completely resolved and not chronic. Therefore, this was a pure ligament sprain, which passed the eye test of a surgical scope, and simply healed as slow as molasses going uphill in Winter Storm Jonas.
No one knows 100%, not even Perriman, but I am willing to stick my neck out there and say that he's going to be playing like normal come next season. Here's hoping that he doesn't sustain any freaky corresponding injury. I think the Ravens sound to be expectant that he will be all the way back to normal playing status. Imagine if the Ravens get another marquee wide receiver in the 1st or 2nd round in the draft. Google the word "giddy" and Flacco's picture would pop up. Thanks for the ask.
Next Click carries rank. Two weeks, two Beatdown Inboxes, two Superfans. The big difference is that this Superfan is also a Superhero--Captain Defense!
Captain, a bona fide Hall-of-Famer deserves a bona fide answer.
Not really bona-fide, is it? But true. If you are looking at the average salary for 2015, what you assert is true.
And, yes, some would asset that this is too high for Smith's pedestrian numbers. Especially considering the fact that he gave up some conspicuous touchdowns this season.
BUT, if you look at the total value of the contracts, Ravens CB Jimmy Smith a little lower in the rankings:
As I researched some of these comparative numbers, I saw the real genius in your question. Let's take your valuation, Smith's average being 7th in the league amongst cornerbacks. Now, let's compare his grading for the season with the other top six.
I like JSmith22, but this outcome is stunningly low. Richard Sherman appears to be earning his money, as the highest ranked corner on the list and the 2nd highest paid. Patrick Peterson also appears to be earning his keep. It is known that Revis is in the decline of his career, so his accomplishment and reputation--which affects the opponents game schemes--is part of his salary, which seems right. His season was decently good, but consider that he has the highest run defense grade, as the oldest player on this list, and that vaults him to the "worth it" category. Joe Haden was hurt most of the year, but those are the actual grades for when he did play, perhaps hurt. Not good. Maxwell did not have a season commensurate with his pay. And Jimmy Smith, coming in 78th on this list of graded corners, did not have the kind of season that one would reasonably think his pay rate requires.
Now it is true that he played hurt. His foot bothered him all season, he revealed at the end. And, his pass defense was better than two others on the list--two getting paid more than he. But the grade still represents a failing grade. Look at his season trend of grades:
from Pro Football Focus
The PFF service grades every single snap. They are very specific. Smith performed at a low level this season. It points to the need for more leadership and clarity in the defensive backfield, and obliterates the late-season claims that the Ravens were a top pass defense. Smith was not at all the worst player back there.
Finally, I would be remiss to not point out that members of the PFF top 10 are some of the lowest paid ath the position, reinforcing that it can be a shot-in-the-dark type of venture, trying to get the best play for the pay. In no way is it a straight correlation. Football is too unpredictable. For instance, Dairus Slay from the Detroit Lions is number 2 on the PFF grade list, but number 56 in salary. The Saints' Delvin Breaux is ranked 8th for the season, but number 156 in salary. Do you know who Ronald Darby is? The Buffalo CB is 4th on the list, but 60th in pay for corners. The top player on the list is the Cardinals' Tyrann Mathieu, whose time at corner was graded. His pay? 52nd on the list of safeties, but would have been 71st in corners. 71st!!
In conclusion, Captian Defense, I would say that it is not a straight metric to measure a player's pay and demand that his play be exactly parallel to that in ranking. I would say that his play should be justifiable for the pay. And for Smith, for this season, for many reasons, it was not. A sad truth. I also believe that new Secondary Coach Leslie Frazier will right this ship, along with a young, uber-talented draftee playing on the other side. Thanks for the insightful question.
Next Click is an International One:
M'Lady!! Coming all the way from the United Kingdom, Tracy was featured by the official Ravens site this season for her game visit one week. I will treat your question as royalty, O Queen.
@Tracy_Cole65 We can't wait to see you!— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 17, 2015
My Baltimore Beatdown colleague, Chuck Mills, is writing a series of articles on the depth chart that I would recommend. The thought of someone vaulting the order into the starting status is worth a looksee.
Thanks to the excellent upkeep over at ourlads.com, we have a depth chart to the 5th position in some cases. I took the chart and cut out the obvious 1st and 2nd positions so that we could focus on the latter ones. So, let's begin with offense.
It's tempting to stray away from the original question, and start talking about roster spots in general. A very shiny silver lining to all of the attrition of 2015 is that we have a solid pool of players to pick from, going forward. This rings true at Wide Receiver. Out of this group, the names that must come up in this topic are Jeremy Butler,Chris Matthews, Daniel Brown, and Michael Campanaro. Butler had a very impressive season for someone that deep on the chart. Matthews flashed potential on the field, and had good moments in special teams. Daniel Brown is a under-the-rader playmaker. Campanaro flashed gamechanging ability when he is healthy. A glance at their PFF rankings tells the tale:
When sorted solely by receiving grades, Chris Matthews vaults upward. Remember, he was a Super Bowl superstar. Right behind is Jeremy Butler, and Brown The Playmaker is 1 point behind him. We have to consider that Breshad Perriman will be coming back, and his top-end speed will vault him above all of these. That would mean that Kamar Aiken and he would vie for that 2nd spot, the remaining one taking spot 3. It's a tight competition, will have a rookie WR added to it no doubt, and could see someone jumping from the depths of the depth to start.
Of the other depth chargers, QB Ryan Mallett probably secured his spot as the backup to Flacco; CB Sharece Wright might start opposite of Smith with L. Webb's move to Free Safety imminent; and a guy named Dennis Pitta could vault back to the top should he return to play. Do not forget: Will Davis, the CB signed from Miami, had an excellent showing against Pittsburgh before he got hurt. He will definitely challenge Wright. Not to mention, again, a high draft choice could come in and start at this position.
Milady, that was as long winded as cross-Atlantic gust that brought you over for a game. Hope it gave you some ideas and focus. Thanks!
Next Click hits home:
This dashing, athletic, girls-like-him young man could very well be a genius. Unrelated fact: he is my nephew. Miles #1! Great question, coming from the most loyal Jacoby "Jam" Jones fan on the planet.
Miles, I would like to introduce you to someone: Ravens WR Kaelin Clay. Kaelin, Miles. Miles, Kaelin. This Kick Return specialist was an All-American in college doing just this. And as you might recall, but might not have seen on that school night, he had an impressive kick return touchdown against Cleveland:
This man has speed, Miles. Serious, stop eatin'-your-hotdog speed. The question is, can he get more comfortable and decisive in the hyper-athletic NFL? If so, you are looking at Jones' replacement. Will he be able to bring the full spectacle showmanship like Jones? Tall order. To replace all of that, we might have to combine a few players. Perhaps Kaelin's Speed + Buck Allen's Dance + T-Sizzle's Showmanship? Time will tell.
Soon, young Padawan, take the place of Jacoby, YOU will.
That's the Beatdown Inbox for this week. Not freezing rain or snow or dark of shovel will stop us from hunting down an answer to your questions. Hit us up @BaltimoreBeadown, @chrisbraven, or on Facebook.
Thanks for reading!