The Baltimore Ravens are in need of some established depth to reinforce their pass rush. They will be hosting veteran free agent defensive end Dawuane Smoot for a visit early next week, according to a report from NFL.com insider Ian Rapoport.
#Jaguars FA DE Dawuane Smoot is set to visit the #Ravens early next week, as Baltimore eyes possible edge help, sources say. Smoot tore his Achilles late last season, but is doing well in his rehab and prepping to get back on the field. Baltimore is a strong option.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 19, 2023
Smoot played his first six career seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars after being selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Illinois. He has been a model of consistently the past four years and likely would’ve garnered a hefty deal in free agency if not a torn Achilles suffered last December.
@Bigsmoot_94 Back and MOVING .— Rise & Grind Training (@RiseandGrindOP) May 17, 2023
Ahead of schedule on the road return to top form and make impact plays this season.
Smoot has been back and working for the last month.
The workouts phased him back into regaining his strength and mobility, to now be able to move like this.… pic.twitter.com/aOpnhW2qrw
The beginning period of training camp is typically a rather busy one for the Ravens. It’s been a period where they do their due diligence and look to add an experienced player or two at positions lacking proven depth.
Smoot fits the bill of the exact type of veteran free agent that the Ravens target around this time of year. He has produced at a moderately high level and should come at a discount for a one year-deal. That usually relates to injury or having just come of a down year, the former of which applies to Smoot.
The season-ending injury he suffered in Week 16 is the only reason he has remained on the open market this long. Smoot was having another strong season and still managed to record his fourth straight year of notching 5+ sacks. He had also registered 12 quarterback hits, two pass break ups, six tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
This news doesn’t mean that a possible reunion between the Ravens and 12-year veteran Justin Houston isn’t still on the table. It is something that might still happen sooner rather than later. The four-time Pro Bowler led the Ravens in sacks in 2022 with 9.5 and was at his best in a rotation as a situational pass rusher.
Signing both players would actually make a lot of sense for the Ravens . They would provide tremendous depth on the edge and Smoot possesses the positional versatility to move inside on passing downs. From the interior, he can help offset the loss of six-time Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell, who was released as a salary cap casualty in the offseason.
The Ravens are excited about their young talent in the trenches on the defensive line and edge with second-year pro David Ojabo and 2021 first-rounder Odafe Oweh. However, having players of Houston and Smoot’s pedigree will only aid in their continued development. It would also further bolster their stable of explosive pass rushers.