Jimmy Smith

Ravens Activate Jimmy Smith

One of the top players returning from suspension this week, Jimmy Smith will suit up for the first time since Week 13 of last season.

The Ravens activated Smith and waived cornerback Darious Williams. While Williams is now off the Baltimore roster, the team hopes to re-sign him to its practice squad if he clears waivers, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com tweets.

Williams played in three games this season, seeing action strictly on special teams. But with Smith back, that left one less spot available for a corner on this roster.

Suspended after an alleged domestic violence incident, Smith will return to a Ravens defense already playing well. They’re carrying the No. 3 DVOA defense into Week 5, and Smith performed as Baltimore’s best corner last season.

This will be the 30-year-old defender’s eighth Ravens season, and while it should be expected he’ll start soon, defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said he won’t disrupt Brandon Carr‘s 164-game start streak because of Smith’s return.

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Extra Points: Bell, Gregory, Raiders, Carr

With just less than four weeks remaining until the trade deadline, Le’Veon Bell-to-the-Eagles has surfaced on the rumor circuit. The Eagles are reportedly giving serious consideration to making a run at the likely rental running back. But SI.com’s Albert Breer isn’t so sure that’s going to happen. The Eagles don’t see running back as a spot to sink major resources into, per Breer. Bell’s approximately $10MM salary would qualify as a major investment, although that’s dropping by the week because of this unusual holdout. Philadelphia has just less than $5MM in cap room, and Breer notes the improving health of its running backs should help them steer clear of these interesting Bell sweepstakes. Corey Clement and Darren Sproles have yet to return to practice, and Jay Ajayi is playing with a back fracture. The Eagles traded a fourth-rounder for Ajayi before the 2017 trade deadline. Bell as of now plans to report to the Steelers during their Week 7 bye.

Here’s the latest from around the league as Week 5’s first game continues:

  • Randy Gregory‘s reinstatement conditions caused him to miss the Cowboys‘ Thursday practice. The defensive end was in Chicago meeting with medical director of the NFL’s substance-abuse program, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (on Twitter). He most recently attended this type of summit during the preseason. The NFL reinstated Gregory this summer after his extensive substance-abuse-induced hiatus. His status for Week 5 doesn’t appear to be in question. Gregory’s played 64 snaps this season.
  • Jimmy Smith‘s return to action this week doesn’t appear to mean Brandon Carr will be bumped from first-string duties. The 11th-year cornerback has started 164 straight games (and every game he’s played as an NFLer), and Ravens DC Wink Martindale doesn’t plan on stopping that run, Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com notes. Smith is eligible to return after a four-game suspension. Carr, Marlon Humphrey and slot man Tavon Young have worked as Baltimore’s top three corners this season. Smith was thriving prior to his season-ending injury last year, so it should be expected he’ll play a big role soon, even if he doesn’t start immediately. Carr’s 164-game start streak resides as the longest among defensive players by 28 games.
  • While Jon Gruden wanted to take Derwin James in the first round, Vic Tafur of The Athletic writes (subscription required) the Raiders weren’t doing anything except taking a tackle in Round 1. However, if Kolton Miller was gone at No. 15 — where the Raiders dropped to after dealing the No. 10 selection to the Cardinals — Tafur notes they were going to take James or trade down further.
  • The Dolphins were projected to be among the teams examining the crop of potential first-round quarterbacks, but their 3-1 start could change that. Early in the mock process, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report has the Dolphins taking Clemson cornerback Trayvon Mullen, a player whom multiple area scouts have rising into the first round after a strong start to the season. As for where Miller projects the QBs to fall in Round 1, he has the Giants taking Oregon’s Justin Herbert and No. 5, the Patriots grabbing Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham at No. 17 (though, that draft slot seems certain to drop) and the Bengals selecting Missouri’s Drew Lock at 28.

Ingram, Edelman To Return In Week 5

As we approach Week 5 of the NFL season, several NFL players are returning from four-game bans. As noted by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), that list includes notables such as Saints running back Mark Ingram, Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving, Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget, Colts running back Robert Turbin, Raiders cornerback Daryl Worley, Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith

Players do not count against a team’s roster max while suspended, so clubs will have to make room for these players before adding them for Week 5. There will be some tough decisions to make, but the upside is clear in most of these cases, particularly when it comes to offensive weapons like Ingram and Edelman or defensive pillars like Burfict and Irving.

Alvin Kamara should remain the focal point of the Saints’ running game, but the return of Ingram will give opposing defenses something else to think about. And, as we saw in the first three weeks of the Patriots’ season, Edelman has been sorely missed.

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NFL Suspends Ravens’ Jimmy Smith

Ravens defensive back Jimmy Smith has been suspended for the first four games of the regular season, the league announced. Smith was originally facing a six-game ban, but the suspension was reduced to four games after Smith met with the NFL, tweets Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.

Prior to the ban, the NFL was monitoring a child custody case between the player and his child’s mother. Last year, the woman had accused Smith of domestic violence and drug use, allegations that the cornerback denied. Ultimately, an NFL investigation found that the allegations had merit.

The NFL found evidence of threatening and emotional abusive behaviors by Jimmy [Smith] toward his former girlfriend that showed a pattern of improper conduct. Our player’s behavior was inappropriate and wrong,” the Ravens said in a statement.

The Ravens added that after consulting with relationship and domestic violence experts, as well as non-football members of the organization, they “will allow Jimmy to return…after his suspension. Jimmy has acknowledged his behaviors were wrong and accepts full responsibility for them.”

Smith missed the final quarter of last season with a torn Achilles tendon, meaning that he’ll go roughly eleven months between snaps thanks to this suspension. In his injury-shortened campaign, Smith had 28 tackles, nine passes defended, and three interceptions.

The Ravens are undoubtedly frustrated by the situation, but they have reason to stick with him through the ban. Last year, Smith was operating as one of the Ravens’ best players and was Pro Football Focus’ No. 12 corner coming into the ill-fated game.

The Ravens will be without Smith for the first four games of the season against the Bills, Bengals, Broncos, and Steelers. He’ll be eligible to return in Week 5 against the Browns.

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Ravens CB Jimmy Smith Facing Suspension

The Ravens are preparing for cornerback Jimmy Smith to receive a multi-game suspension for violation of the league’s personal conduct policy, sources tell Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. The 30-year-old is appealing the punishment, and after leaving the team this weekend, he isn’t expected to play during Monday’s game against the Colts. The organization had known about the impending suspension for some time, and Smith was set to meet with league officials today.

Specifics of Smith’s violation aren’t clear, but Zrebiec reports that the league had been monitoring a child custody case between the player and his first child’s mother. Last year, the woman had accused Smith of domestic violence and drug use, allegations that the cornerback denied.

The seven-year veteran has missed plenty of time since entering the league, and his 2017 campaign ended with a torn Achilles’ tendon. The NFL suspended Smith soon after for performance-enhancing drugs. The cornerback was banned for four games, but he was allowed to serve the suspension while he recovered from his injury. The cornerback ultimately finished the campaign having compiled 28 tackles, nine passes defended, and three interceptions.

The Ravens had worked out cornerback Bashaud Breeland back in July, and they could reconsider signing the free agent if Smith is indeed suspended. The Ravens could also roll with their current crop of cornerbacks, a grouping that includes Brandon Carr, former first-rounder Marlon Humphrey, and rookie fourth-rounder Anthony Averett.

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North Notes: Vikes, Browns, Ravens, Sutton

At Vikings OTAs this week, they placed Mike Remmers back at right tackle, per Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Remmers finished last season playing guard, and the Vikings used a second-round pick on tackle Brian O’Neill out of Pittsburgh. Minnesota had UFA signee Tom Compton working as its first-string right guard during OTAs, per Rand. Compton has never been a full-time starter in his six-year career, coming closest with the 2014 Redskins, who used him as a nine-game starter. Last season, the Bears started Compton in five of the 11 games he played. Minnesota lost its most effective blocker, Joe Berger, to retirement and did not make any notable additions beyond Compton at the guard spot.

Here’s more from the north:

  • The Browns have made some adjustments to their front office and scouting department, and Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com expects that to continue. She targets the VP of player personnel decision as a possible turnover spot. Alonzo Highsmith, Ken Kovash and Andrew Berry currently reside in that role. John Dorsey just hired Highsmith, and Cabot reports Berry is safe from a change despite being an integral part of the previous regime. The Browns promoted Kovash shortly after the Sashi Brown regime took over in 2016 after he’d previously worked as the franchise’s director of football research.
  • Converted cornerback Damarious Randall will be the Browns’ starter at free safety this season, relocating Jabrill Peppers to strong safety, per Cabot. Gregg Williams‘ deep placement of Peppers, sometimes more than 25 yards off the ball, became a constant source of discussion and derision among Browns fans, and Peppers himself may be a bit tired of the jokes. But the Browns will now place him closer to the line of scrimmage, which is similar to the role he had at Michigan.
  • Optimism exists around Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith, who saw a strong season end early in 2017 because of a torn Achilles, but Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun notes the veteran may not be ready for the start of training camp. The career-long Raven is going into his age-30 season.
  • Additional Ravens’ timelines are coming into focus as well. Defensive lineman Carl Davis, who started nine games last season, underwent surgery to repair a tear in his shoulder earlier this offseason, Zreibec reports. The former third-round pick is questionable to participate in minicamp. Offensive lineman Nico Siragusa also had an operation this offseason. The 2017 fourth-round pick missed all of last season because of ACL, MCL and PCL tears and required an additional knee surgery this year. Zreibec reports the goal for him is a training camp return. As for Alex Lewis, Baltimore’s projected guard starter opposite Marshal Yanda, he’s fully recovered from the shoulder injury that nixed all of his 2017 season, Zreibec notes.
  • The Steelers aren’t sure where to station Cameron Sutton. The 2017 third-round pick played 117 snaps as a rookie after an injury delayed his NFL debut. Pittsburgh may be planning to use him at outside or slot cornerback, or as a safety alongside Morgan Burnett, Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. But he notes that Artie Burns and Sean Davis will still have first crack at their respective jobs, outside cornerback and the non-Burnett safety starter, with the Steelers still hoping for the high draft picks’ upside to show. Mike Hilton remains the frontrunner to be the Steelers’ slot corner, where the former UDFA fared well in 2017.

Ravens Notes: Smith, Wideouts, Draft, Humphrey

The Ravens “continue to get positive reports” on cornerback Jimmy Smith‘s recovery from a torn left Achilles tendon. The veteran suffered the injury in a December win over the Lions. While there’s uncertainty if Smith will be ready in time for the start of the regular season, the defensive back has still been rehabbing the injury at the team facility “on a regular basis.”

“I see Jimmy. He’s there because he’s rehabbing. I see him in the building. He’s telling me he’s doing very well,” said general manager Ozzie Newsome (via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun). “I spoke with Drew [Rosenhaus] earlier in the week and Drew indicated that he just spent some time with Jimmy and Jimmy was doing well.”

Before his injury, Smith had compiled 28 tackles, nine passes defended, and three interceptions. The 2011 first-round pick has spent his entire seven-year career with the Ravens.

Let’s check out some more notes out of Baltimore…

  • Newsome previously said that the team is expected to reset the wide receiver position this offseason, and Zrebiec tweets that the sentiment “doesn’t bode well” for the returns of wideouts Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace. The duo combined for only 92 receptions, 1,188 yards, and seven touchdowns last season. Maclin has one year remaining on his contract (along with a $7.5MM cap hit), while Wallace is an unrestricted free agent.
  • With the Ravens apparently seeking reinforcement at wide receiver, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora tweets that a reunion with Torrey Smith is a “very real possibility.” The Eagles are expected to decline the 29-year-old’s 2018 option. Smith started 14 games during his only season in Philly, hauling in 36 receptions for 430 yards and two touchdowns. The 2011 second-round pick spent the first four seasons of his career in Baltimore.
  • Despite Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti‘s assertion that his team wouldn’t select a successor to Joe Flacco, La Canfora believes the team could still “invest a high pick” on a quarterback in this year’s draft. The Ravens haven’t been in the market for backup quarterbacks, and the team is “most likely” to select a wideout with their first-round pick. However, the reporter notes that the team is doing “considerable work” on the rookie passers, and they “very well could use a top pick on a quarterback if the right guy is there.”
  • The felony robbery charge against cornerback Marlon Humphrey has been dismissed, reports ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley. The 2017 first-rounder was accused of stealing a phone charger from an Uber, but Judge Joanne Jannik ruled that there was no probable cause to prosecute. After being selected 16th-overall in last year’s draft, Humphrey filled in admirably for Jimmy Smith, compiling 34 tackles and two interceptions.

AFC North Notes: Shazier, Britt, McCarron

Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that Shazier continues to show gradual improvement, though he remains hospitalized. Per Schefter, doctors are controlling and limiting Shazier’s movement as they wait for the swelling and bruising in his back to subside, and it is of course too soon to determine if he will be able to play again. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports adds that Shazier is expected to remain in the hospital for a few more days, but that his prognosis is “optimistic.”

Now let’s take a swing around the rest of the AFC North:

  • Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun writes that, before Jimmy Smith‘s season-ending Achilles tear last week, there was talk that the Ravens could release Brandon Carr to create cap space and rely on Smith and the team’s cadre of young and talented corners. Zrebiec, though, thought that was a bad idea before the Smith injury, and he believes it’s even worse now. Carr has played reasonably well, and Smith’s latest injury is just further proof that Baltimore cannot count on him for a full season (he may not even be ready for the start of 2018). Zrebiec thinks the Ravens should not only retain Carr, but they should also continue to bolster their CB corps.
  • It does not sound as if the Browns will face any discipline for their alleged violation of the Rooney Rule in their hiring of John Dorsey. La Canfora reports that he spoke last night with John Wooten, chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, and Wooten indicated that his concerns with Cleveland’s GM search have been addressed. Wooten added that he has no issue with the hiring of the highly-qualified Dorsey (Twitter links).
  • The waiver period for claiming the contract of former Browns wide receiver Kenny Britt ends tomorrow at 4pm, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk observes. While Cleveland would love for someone to claim Britt off waivers, thereby absolving the Browns of the balance of his salary, that seems unlikely at this point. Florio writes that Britt wants to sign with a playoff contender if he clears waivers, and that the Patriots could be a team to watch in that scenario.
  • A ruling on A.J. McCarron‘s grievance will be made in February, as La Canfora reports. The Bengals‘ backup QB has argued that he should be an unrestricted free agent when the 2018 league year opens, while the league feels he should be a restricted free agent. In any event, the matter will be resolved before free agency gets underway.

NFL Suspends Ravens’ Jimmy Smith

On Sunday, Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith suffered a season-ending injury. Now, Smith has been hit with a suspension for performance enhancing drugs (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). Jimmy Smith (vertical)

The good news – if there is good news in this situation – is that Smith can serve the suspension while injured. He has withdrawn his appeal of the four-game ban, so he will be able to take the field when he is healthy for Week 1 next year.

Smith, 30 this summer, tore his Achilles on a non-contact play on Sunday against the Lions. Unfortunately, the injury and the suspension will put a damper on what has been a career year for the veteran. So far this year, Pro Football Focus has Smith ranked as one of the 12 best corners in the entire NFL with a career-high overall score. We have yet to hear an explanation from Smith on his positive test, but critics will undoubtedly connect the dots between his alleged PED use and his improved play.

The playoffs are still within reach for the 7-5 Ravens, but they’ll have to find a way to get by without one of their top defenders the rest of the way.

 

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Jimmy Smith Out For Season

The Ravens picked up a key win Sunday, keeping their wild-card hopes going strong. But their playoff push will have to unfold without a key performer the rest of the way.

Jimmy Smith will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn Achilles’ tendon against the Lions, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Smith sustained the injury on a non-contact play but had been dealing with Achilles trouble prior to this unfortunate setback.

John Harbaugh confirmed the diagnosis.

The seventh-year cornerback was operating as one of the best players at his position this season, rating as Pro Football Focus’ No. 12 corner coming into Week 13. This obviously isn’t the first time Smith’s encountered injury trouble. He finished last season on IR due to ankle issues, and a foot malady ended his 2014 campaign after eight games.

The Ravens are more prepared to handle a blow like this in 2017 than they were last season, having signed Brandon Carr in March and having drafted Marlon Humphrey in the first round. But neither were having the kind of season Smith was.

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