Welcome back to “stay or go?” Baltimore Beatdown’s prediction series that take a look at upcoming Ravens free agents and provides a verdict on whether they’ll remain in the picture with the team.
In this exercise, we’ll be sticking with the unrestricted free agents, and in one case, a club option controlled player. We’re trying to stick with players who have a market value on Spotrac’s 2020 NFL Free Agents tracker, with a few exceptions being made – anyone left off of that is someone we’re assuming could be brought back relatively easily.
We hope you enjoy and sound off in the comments about what you think is going to happen in free agency!
ENTERING: 10TH SEASON
AGE: WILL BE 32 ENTERING WEEK 1
CONTRACT STATUS: UFA
Now here’s a very interesting one. Once the young buck who rounded his game into form after a disappointing start to his career, Smith is now one of the old heads amongst an eclectic mix in Baltimore’s secondary. He had the sequence of his life to ostensibly win the Ravens the Super Bowl back in 2013, and has been a key fixture for them ever since . . . when he’s been healthy.
Ultimately, that’s been Jimmy’s bugaboo his entire career – his length, physicality, and attitude brings something unquantifiable to the team when he’s in the picture, but before and after signing his long term deal back in 2015, that’s been his main issue. We saw it happen this season when he went down in the first game against Miami, causing him to miss the first half of the season.
Baltimore saw a defensive turnaround from near worst in the league to the best that began at around the quarter pole of the season and was in full hum by the time Smith re-joined the lineup halfway through the year. His contributions helped them along to finish the job with their 14-2 record and a 4th overall DVOA rating, with Jimmy individually tabbing a sack and an interception each. His overall grade of 65 from PFF is very solid for a veteran player with injury issues, and that solidity pairs well with the two young bucks in Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters.
Smith was one of the best Ravens of the 2010’s, and while Eric DeCosta won’t allow that to overly affect the negotiations, it seems like both parties seem fairly interested in keeping things together for the foreseeable future. Smith admitted that was his attitude heading into this free agency period in a recent interview with The Athletic:
“I’ve made a lot of money. I’m not going to go broke. You want to get all the money you can playing this game. I probably shouldn’t say this, but I like to be honest. You want to feel comfortable where you’re at,” he said. “Obviously, if somebody offers me a great contract, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. But for me, it’s all about being comfortable. I’m home here, so to continue to play; I’d want to do it here. No doubt.”
That has to be music to DeCosta’s ears, as does the Over The Cap valuation of Smith sitting at around $3.7M as of right now. If Smith is as open to hanging around the organization as it sounds he is, and the front office doesn’t mind breaking off a reasonable amount of cap space to do so, there’s no reason to think that it ultimately won’t happen.
THE VERDICT: STAY
PREDICTION: DECOSTA DISHES OUT A TWO-YEAR DEAL TO KEEP SMITH AROUND
COMPENSATION: $6M A YEAR AVG, WITH JUST THE FIRST YEAR GUARANTEED
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