Jimmy Smith

Ravens CB Jimmy Smith To Test Free Agency?

The Ravens discussed a contract extension with veteran corner Jimmy Smith during the 2019 season, but the two sides could not come to terms. Although there is mutual interest in a reunion, it sounds like Smith will see if there are greener pastures on the open market.

At the scouting combine, Baltimore GM Eric DeCosta told reporters, including Clifton Brown of BaltimoreRavens.com, that he does not expect to strike an accord with Smith prior to the opening of free agency. “We’ve had conversations with Jimmy,” DeCosta said. “I suspect Jimmy’s going to want to hit the market and assess what his value is, as he probably should. He’s a veteran, he’s worked hard to see what his value is on the market. Lots of respect for Jimmy as a player. His agent and I have a really good relationship. So we’ll just see.”

The Ravens selected Smith, a Colorado product, in the first round of the 2011 draft. He eventually established himself as a legitimate No. 1 corner, and while he has struggled with injuries throughout his career, Baltimore’s defense has generally been markedly better when he’s on the field. The team already has standouts Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters under contract, but the secondary depth was a key piece of the Ravens’ defensive success in 2019, and DeCosta was clear that he would like Smith to return.

“Love to see him back in Baltimore,” the second-year GM said. “But he’s a free agent, so we’ll see what happens.”

If Smith does not re-sign with the Ravens, then that would make a Brandon Carr return more likely. If Smith does re-up, then Carr could be a cap casualty.

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AFC Notes: Ravens, Brady, Mosley

We heard at the end of December that the Ravens are prepared to slap pass rusher Matt Judon with the franchise tag if they cannot work out a long-term deal with him, but recent comments from head coach John Harbaugh suggested Judon could be suiting up elsewhere in 2020. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic says Baltimore may be disinclined to use the tag, as it would take up a big chunk of their cap and could alienate the emotional and outspoken Judon.

On the other hand, Judon is the only proven pass rusher on the team, and there’s no guarantee the Ravens can win a bidding war for one of this year’s top FAs or land a player at the bottom of the first round of the draft who can make an immediate impact, so GM Eric DeCosta will have to carefully weigh a number of factors.

Let’s round up a few other AFC items, starting with several more nuggets out of Baltimore:

  • The Ravens and veteran CB Jimmy Smith have mutual interest in a reunion, per Zrebiec. However, if Baltimore brings back Smith, it’s unlikely that CB/S Brandon Carr also returns. Meanwhile, the Ravens will almost certainly cut safety Tony Jefferson.
  • Regardless of what they do with Judon, the Ravens will have to add three or four starting-caliber players to their front seven, so Zrebiec expects the team to focus on those areas heavily in the draft, and he fully expects DeCosta to draft a WR or two.
  • Add Jay Glazer of The Athletic to the list of pundits who believe a Tom BradyRaiders partnership makes sense. Like others, Glazer thinks the Chargers are an obvious non-Patriots landing spot, but given the international presence that the Las Vegas outfit is expected to have, both Brady and the team would stand to benefit from a Sin City marriage.
  • In a recent interview with Eddie Paskal of the team’s official website, Raiders GM Mike Mayock said he believes the move to Las Vegas will help the club attract top free agents, even those not named Brady. The fact that Nevada does not have a state income tax will obviously be appealing, as will the sleek new stadium and the general excitement surrounding the franchise. Mayock also noted that he will look to add wide receiver help this offseason.
  • Jets LB C.J. Mosley had to undergo groin/abdominal surgery about six weeks ago, but he expects to be ready for the team’s offseason program this spring, per Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. One of last year’s biggest free agent fish, Mosley played in just two games for Gang Green, and he has started a vegan diet in the hopes of giving himself an edge.

North Notes: Golladay, J. Smith, Packers

Wide receiver Kenny Golladay has been a rare bright spot for the Lions this season, setting career-highs with 1,118 yards and a league-leading 11 TDs. The 2017 third-rounder will be eligible for an extension after the season, and he expects contract talks to take place in the coming months, as Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com writes.

“I’m sure we will (talk contract) the next few months or so,” Golladay said. “Everything will work itself out. I’m very grateful to be here. [The Lions] definitely took a shot on me and that would be a good way to repay them.”

Now for more from the league’s north divisions:

  • The Ravens agreed to a three-year extension with cornerback Marcus Peters yesterday, but that doesn’t mean Jimmy Smith‘s days in Baltimore are numbered. Per Jeff Zrbeic of The Athletic, the Ravens — who have invested heavily in their secondary in recent years — tried to extend Smith earlier in the season, and the two sides could revisit contract talks this offseason.
  • Regardless of what the Ravens choose to do with Smith, Zrebiec says the team can now focus on adding pass rushers and inside linebackers in free agency and/or the draft. He confirms an earlier report suggesting that Baltimore could put the franchise tag on Matt Judon, and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report says the Ravens are indeed heavily focused on pass rushing talent in the 2020 draft.
  • In the same piece linked above, Miller says the Packers are fully aware of how talented the 2020 class of wide receivers is and could use a first-round pick on a wideout for the first time since 2002.
  • Vikings receiver Davion Davis was arrested for DUI the same late October weekend as teammate Jayron Kearse, as Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes (though they were unrelated incidents). Davis, who was on the active roster at the time but who is now on the practice squad, has since pleaded not guilty to three misdemeanor charges. He has appeared in two games this season and has seen three offensive snaps.

Jimmy Smith To Miss Time With MCL Injury

The Ravens did not come out of their third straight Week 1 blowout win unscathed. Jimmy Smith will miss some time because of a knee injury.

Smith suffered a grade 2 MCL sprain, John Harbaugh confirmed Monday (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Jeff Zreibec). Harbaugh indicated the veteran cornerback will miss multiple weeks and noted the possibility of an IR-return stay exists. However, the 12th-year Ravens coach did not view that as the probable course of action.

This will mark the fourth straight season in which Smith will have missed time. He missed five games in 2016 and four in both 2017 and ’18, with the latter absence caused by a suspension. He has started 79 games for the Ravens since they selected him in the 2011 first round. Smith, 31, loomed as a cut candidate this offseason, but the Ravens opted to keep him for another year.

Baltimore boasts some depth at cornerback, despite losing Tavon Young for the season. Brandon Carr, second-year player Anthony Averett, ex-Cardinal Justin Bethel and return man Cyrus Jones reside on the Ravens’ roster. The Ravens face the Cardinals, Chiefs and Browns over the next three weeks.

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Ravens Plan To Keep Jimmy Smith

It sounds like the Ravens will keep Jimmy Smith in the fold. While at the owners’ meetings, Ravens GM Eric DeCosta all but confirmed that the team will be moving forward with Smith, as Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets

One of the greatest strengths of our team right now is our secondary. I think it would be foolish for us to make a strength a weakness for no reason,” DeCosta said.

Smith, 31 in July, is under contract for one more season with a whopping $15MM cap number. The Ravens and Smith agreed to a 2017 restructure, ballooning his cap figure to this level. Releasing Smith would save $9.5MM against Baltimore’s cap, but it would also leave the club with $6.4MM in dead money. That’s not exactly an ideal scenario for the Ravens, so an extension or restructuring could make more sense than an outright release.

Last year, Smith served a four-game suspension for an alleged domestic violence incident. In 2017, he also missed four games due to an Achilles tear that coincided with a four-game suspension for PEDs.

The Ravens lost Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley and Eric Weddle from their top-tier defense. They will still have one of the league’s oldest secondaries, with the soon-to-be 30-year-old Earl Thomas coming in to join 30-somethings Smith, Brandon Carr and Tony Jefferson. Both Carr and Smith were potential cap casualties, but each is instead set to be part of an experienced Ravens DB corps.

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AFC North Notes: Brown, Ravens, Johnson

The Steelers‘ plan remains to trade Antonio Brown. But Kevin Colbert reiterated they will not pull the trigger if they do not believe the compensation is appropriate.

We will only make a trade if it benefits the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Colbert said, via Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com. “He knows that. His representation knows that. That’s been clearly explained, and we’re willing to take a look. If there’s something that can be done to benefit both sides, great. If not, then we’ll deal with that when we get to it.”

Pittsburgh still wants to trade Brown to the NFC, but Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets the organization is prioritizing compensation over a preferred destination. Colbert said an intra-division trade is not ideal but did not put the Bengals, Browns or Ravens as non-starter suitors, saying “we haven’t eliminated anybody” from the trade picture. Colbert added more teams have reached out, which makes sense with all 32 teams in Indianapolis for the Combine. The Steelers would seemingly prefer to deal Brown before March 17, when his $2.5MM bonus is due, but Colbert said (via Pro Football Talk, on Twitter) the team is open to paying him the bonus and trading him later.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • New Ravens GM Eric DeCosta has said the team wants C.J. Mosley back, and a report indicated they also want to re-sign Terrell Suggs for a 17th season. DeCosta on Wednesday said he expects Brandon Carr to stay put. However, the new front office boss was not as certain on Jimmy Smith and Eric Weddle joining Carr in the 2019 Baltimore secondary, Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic tweets. Carr, who will be 33 in May, is due $7MM. Weddle, 34, has one season left on his four-year deal. It would save the Ravens $7.5MM by cutting him. After indicating he would want to retire if the Ravens didn’t want him back, Weddle recently changed his tune. Smith is just 30, and a release would cost the Ravens more than $6MM. But they could save $9MM-plus by making him a cap casualty. Baltimore currently holds barely $20MM in cap space.
  • With Kareem Hunt now in the fold, the Browns‘ backfield is crowded. Nick Chubb will likely be the Cleveland starter for much of this season, with Hunt in line for a suspension that could comprise more than half of the 2019 season. Duke Johnson remains, too, and although he has done his best work in the passing game, Freddie Kitchens said (via cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, on Twitter) the team is not planning to move its passing-down back to wide receiver.
  • The Bengals refuted a report that they are trying to deal 2017 first-rounder John Ross.

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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