Even with the Baltimore Ravens bringing in some pricey new pieces this offseason in Calais Campbell and Michael Brockers, and placing the franchise tag on Matthew Judon, they’ve still found ways to spend money and not come up against the cap. It was announced yesterday that they have re-signed Jimmy Smith, a starting cornerback and former first-round pick.
Smith’s status was very much up in the air given their acquisition last season of Marcus Peters, who signed a long-term extension while the year was still in progress. Marlon Humphrey was the opposite starter, with Brandon Carr playing while Tavon Young, the slot cornerback, was injured.
Carr’s option for 2020 was not picked up, leaving the top four now with Peters, Smith, Humphrey, and Young with Smith returning on just a one-year deal reportedly worth $6 million. It’s not clear exactly how the division of labor will sort out right now, given that they have three outside starters.
It was assumed that Smith would likely sign elsewhere in free agency. He has been a talented defender over the course of his career, but he has had immense difficulty staying healthy, and that had him rumored to be on the chopping block last year already.
Smith has only played in 107 games over his nine-year career out of a possible 144. He has only played in 16 games twice during that time, and has missed at least four games in every year outside of those. He missed a total of seven during the 2019 season, the most since he missed eight in 2014.
The 6’2” cornerback has 14 interceptions over the course of his career with 70 passes defensed. While he has never been named to a Pro Bowl, he has been highly regarded for his coverage skills, even if age and injury have taken a toll on him.
Smith has been with the Ravens organization longer than any other players currently on their roster outside of their punter and long snapper. He is best-known for a play that he made in the Super Bowl in 2012, his second season, breaking up a pass intended for Michael Crabtree—who would later be his teammate in 2018—to prevent a touchdown and secure the title.
Assuming that he can actually be healthy, it is fair to say that Baltimore has among the more talented and deep cornerback rooms in the NFL, with three true bonafide starters on the outside and a worthy slot cornerback. But Young has also had serious injury issues during his career as well, which has led to Humphrey seeing time in the slot.