Latest On Ravens’ Hayden Hurst, Jimmy Smith

Given the relative dearth of quality tight ends expected to be available when free agency opens on March 18, plenty of pundits have connected the dots between TE-needy teams and the Ravens’ Hayden Hurst. After all, Hurst was a first-round pick in 2018, but he has been surpassed on the Baltimore depth chart by Mark Andrews, and the Ravens have another sturdy tight end in Nick Boyle who is lauded for his blocking abilities but who also has some skill as a receiver.

A report last week suggested that there is a “real chance” the Ravens will move Hurst, but Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic isn’t buying it. Zrebiec says the Ravens have indeed received periodic inquiries on Hurst since last year, but they are not looking to trade the former Pittsburgh Pirates farmhand. After all, although Hurst’s counting stats don’t jump off the page, he has displayed all of the abilities that made him a top draft choice in the first place: soft hands, good route-running, and surprising speed. He posted a 30/349/2 slash in 2019, but a good number of those 30 catches were difficult and were in critical situations.

Plus, the Ravens’ offense relies heavily on its TEs, so they need a lot of talent at the position. Zrebiec says GM Eric DeCosta is always willing to listen, but Hurst is not being shopped.

As for CB Jimmy Smith, the last we heard on him is that he is likely to hit free agency. Zrebiec says Baltimore values its 2011 first-rounder and would like to bring him back on a short-term contract paying him roughly $7MM per year, but Smith — who had an AAV of a little over $10MM on his last contract — would prefer a longer deal for a little more money. Given his injury history, he may not get the term he’s looking for on the open market, but he may be able to top $7MM per season from another club.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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