The Baltimore Ravens have been going through a transition on defense starting with the loss of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed a few years ago. Just this offseason they lost another key piece of their defense when Haloti Ngata was traded to the Detroit Lions. Defense is synonymous with Baltimore, it’s their calling card, it’s who they are as a franchise. The Ravens hang their hat on that side of the ball, as time moves on, players do change but their pride on the defensive side of the ball will not change.
The current ‘old guy’ used to be one of those young pups that looked up to Lewis, Reed. Terrell Suggs is that guy now, today the Ravens decided that Jimmy Smith would be another one of those guys. Smith is going to be the cornerstone of the Baltimore secondary, the player they will build around on the back end of that defense.
When Smith was drafted, many pundits questioned his character due to a few incidents off the field at the University of Colorado. What wasn’t in question was the type of talent he was, it was decided amongst many that he had top ten talent in his draft class. The trust the Ravens showed in him on draft day, made this deal possible today as Smith stated.
“For this organization to stand by me through everything that has happened to me up to this point, it means a lot. They had my back, so I’m staying here.”
Smith received a four year, $48 million dollar contract extension earlier today. Of that $48 million, $21 is guaranteed so Smith will certainly have to prove that he is worth that. As one of the better young corners in the league, this deal could and should be considered a bargain in the coming years.
The only concern about this deal would be the injury issue, Smith has missed some time with injuries thus far. Of his four seasons in Baltimore, he’s played more than 12 games just once. His absence was certainly felt during last postseason when the Ravens had trouble shutting down the Patriots and Brady’s air attack.
The price makes it worth it as it’s a passing league and #1 corners don’t grow on trees, the Ravens drafted Smith and it’s only right they want to seek the return on that investment. Smith has all the physical tools and acumen to excel at the position and still hasn’t reached his potential. As the players on that defense continue to change, the Ravens want Smith to become one of those ‘old guys’ like teammate Terrell Suggs, a cornerstone of a stellar defensive unit.