The Baltimore Ravens have agreed to terms with edge rusher Za’Darius Smith on a four-year, $35 million contract with a maximum value of $50 million. Below, you’ll find the reactions to this move from some of our staff here at Baltimore Beatdown.
This is a beautiful reunion. Za’Darius Smith instantly upgrades the Ravens’ pass rush. Smith has the versatility to line up inside on passing downs to help prove much-needed interior pressure as well. Paired with Odafe Oweh and Tyus Bowser, Baltimore suddenly has a dangerous group of edge rushers on paper. The Ravens can still add another pass rusher in the first round as well, or go with a defensive lineman or cornerback to continue to bolster Mike Macdonald’s defense.
General Manager Eric DeCosta put his foot straight in my mouth after I lamented that the Ravens have not done enough with a quarterback on a rookie deal. I could not be happier for it either.
— Dustin Cox
Last year, Ravens fans pleaded for Eric DeCosta to go all-in, while Lamar Jackson was still on his rookie deal. Well, they have one more year of their QB on a cheap deal, and there is no denying that DeCosta has done just that. The Ravens now have a great duo with Smith and Oweh. A youngster and a vet that are going to make it tough for any QB out there, even with the best O-lines. Smith will be an experienced presence for a defense that is still relatively young at core positions.
— Jonas Evans
In his most aggressive yet savvy open to free agency and the new league year since he took over as general manager, Eric DeCosta continues to keep his foot on the gas. By bringing back Smith to where his career began, the Ravens have now all of their top needs except corner. What makes this deal even that much sweeter is the fact that since Smith was released, he won’t count against the Ravens coveted compensatory pick formula after he fetched him one after he left. The two time Pro Bowler will elevate the pass rush and bring back the same dynamic schematic flexibility that he provided during his first stint in Baltimore.
— Joshua Reed
This not as surprising as the signing of Marcus Williams given that Za’Darius Smith has been linked to the Ravens for some time now. However, it is all the same as exciting and joyous of an acquisition. Aside from the reunion factor, Smith has developed into one of the league’s best pass-rushers and will provide a tremendous boost to the Ravens’ defense. He fills another huge need at the edge rusher position. The only potential concern is the back injury that forced Smith to miss all but one game in 2021, but the Ravens likely don’t make this deal if they felt that was a lingering issue.
Between this and yesterday’s moves, Eric DeCosta has now addressed maybe the Ravens’ three biggest areas of weakness within the first three days of free agency. And, all three appear to be tremendous value signings. Hats off to “EDC” and the Baltimore brain trust thus far.
— Frank Platko