Jimmy Smith

Ravens CB Jimmy Smith Retires After 11 Seasons

One of the Ravens’ top defenders over the past decade has officially ended his career. During a press conference earlier today, cornerback Jimmy Smith announced that he signed a one-day contract to retire with the only team he played for in the NFL.

The team’s first-round pick in 2011, Smith operated in a rotational role for the first two years of his career. It was during the team’s 2012 playoff run, however, that he made quite arguably the play he will be best remembered for. The Colorado product broke up a pass on fourth-and-goal in the closing stages of Super Bowl XLVII, a play which essentially sealed the team’s victory.

From that point on, Smith began a lengthy stretch as a full-time starter and the team’s top cover man. His best statistical season came in 2015, when he totaled 54 tackles, three interceptions and 10 pass deflections. He never earned Pro Bowl honors, but was a steady presence on the backend through the drafting of Marlon Humphrey in 2017 and trade acquisition of Marcus Peters in 2019.

By that point, a number of injuries had started to take their toll on Smith. He was able to suit up for a full campaign just twice in his 11 seasons, and took on a smaller workload over each of the past three years. As a result, his future was very much in doubt this offseason.

Baltimore saw Anthony Averett depart in free agency, a move which, coupled with Smith’s unsigned status, left the team thin behind Humphrey and Peters. The Ravens drafted Jayln Armour-Davis and Damarion Williams in the fourth round of this year’s draft, adding to incumbent Brandon Stephens as long-term rotational options.

Smith, 34, will end his NFL tenure with just under $60MM in career earnings. While injuries will lead to questions of what could have been in terms of his time with the Ravens and how much longer it could have been extended, he will nevertheless have a place in the team’s history as a key defensive contributor.

Latest On Ravens’ Pernell McPhee, Jimmy Smith

The Ravens roster is still taking shape and John Harbaugh isn’t sure whether two of his veteran defenders will return. When asked about the status of edge rusher Pernell McPhee and cornerback Jimmy Smith, the head coach couldn’t say whether they’d stick in Baltimore, head elsewhere, or even retire.

[RELATED: L. Jackson: “I Love My Ravens”]

I have (talked to them), but I think it’s for them to say what their plans are. I’ll leave that to them,” Harbaugh said (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic).

No matter what McPhee does, it’s likely that the Ravens will be reworking their edge group. Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser could be on his way out after a year of porous pass coverage capped by a torn Achilles. Fellow pass rusher Justin Houston is also a free agent, which means that the Ravens are likely to prioritize the position in the draft.

Smith, 34 in July, has spent his entire career in Baltimore. Since 2011, he’s suited up for 128 games with 90 starts, registering 14 interceptions, three sacks, and 374 career tackles. While he’s been a staple of the secondary, his production has clearly slipped with time. He’s also earned more than enough money to walk away, so it’s possible that he’ll move on to new endeavors this offseason.

Both players are out of contract and free to sign anywhere, but we’ve haven’t heard much about either vet in recent weeks.

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/20/21

A long list of players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. We listed the players who landed on the list today, as well as those who were activated off the list:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: DE John Franklin-Myers, DB Sharrod Neasman

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/19/21

Given the recent surge of COVID-19 cases throughout the league, we expected to see more roster churning today than we typically would on a December Sunday. Here are today’s minor (and not so minor) moves. This page will, of course, be updated throughout the day:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: G Jon Feliciano
  • Promoted: OL Jacob Capra

Cleveland Browns

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Football Team

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson Out For Week 11

The Ravens’ brutal 2021 season continues. Baltimore’s injured reserve list includes a number of top-flight starters, and the club has dealt with plenty of other injuries besides those significant enough to warrant an IR designation. Now, the Ravens will be without starting QB Lamar Jackson for their matchup against the Bears this afternoon.

Jackson is dealing with a non-COVID illness, which Peter Schrager of the NFL Network reports is a “congestion of the lungs” (Twitter link). Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says the exact virus has not been identified (it’s not the flu), but while the team’s medical staff tried to keep Jackson hydrated enough to play, he is simply not healthy enough to do so (Twitter links).

Adam Schefter of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter) that this virus went through the organization last week, and other players like WR Rashod Bateman and C Bradley Bozeman were also affected. Only Jackson, however, is missing today’s game as a result of the illness.

But the Ravens are dealing with other injuries that will further undermine their chances to win today’s game. Top receiver Marquise Brown is out with a thigh injury, NT Brandon Williams is out with his lingering shoulder ailment, and Baltimore is down to three healthy corners, as CBs Anthony Averett and Jimmy Smith are also inactive.

Backup QB Tyler Huntley will get his first career start in Jackson’s absence. Huntley, a 2020 UDFA, has a strong arm and offers a fair amount of running ability, so his game mimics that of Jackson. But the Ravens will obviously miss their 2019 MVP in a big way.

Despite all of their injuries (and illnesses), the team has managed a 6-3 record, largely as a result of Jackson’s heroics. A surprising Week 10 loss to the Dolphins, though, may prove damaging down the line, especially with a difficult end-of-season schedule that features five divisional games plus contests against the Packers and Rams. Now, Huntley will be called upon to keep his team atop the AFC North before that challenging stretch gets underway.

Ravens To Extend Jimmy Smith

The Ravens and cornerback Jimmy Smith have agreed to an extension, agent Drew Rosenhaus tells NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). Once finalized, it’ll be a one-year add-on that, technically, could be worth up to $5MM. In reality, Smith will receive $500K to sign and $2MM in base comp (Twitter link via ESPN’s Adam Schefter). The rest of the $5MM figure comes from $2.5MM in not likely to be earned (NLTBE) incentives.

Smith was originally set for free agency, though it would have been a shock to see him land elsewhere. He’s spent his entire career in Baltimore since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2011. Last year, he briefly dipped his toe in the free agent waters only to return on a one-year deal worth $3.5MM, plus $2.5MM in incentives.

Smith made the fewest starts of his career (five) in 2019, thanks in large part to a knee injury that sidelined him for much of the season. This year, he’s managed to appear in 11 of 15 possible games. Smith has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury, so he may or may not see time against the Bengals on Sunday. In any event, the Ravens have multiple paths to the playoffs and a 90% probability of clinching, per FiveThirtyEight.

Smith has been dogged by injuries, but he’s been a steady hand when healthy. Now, the versatile vet will remain in Baltimore through his age-33 season.

AFC North Notes: Browns, Burrow, Ravens

The Browns have not honored David Njoku‘s trade request. The former first-round pick enters his fourth season in Cleveland, and while Kevin Stefanski said he had not spoken with Njoku in several weeks, the first-year Browns coach noted he is eager to work with him.

My stance hasn’t changed. The organization’s stance hasn’t changed in that we believe in David, excited to work with him,” Stefanski said, via cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot. “I’ll get to finally be in the same room as him this weekend as he is coming in for physicals and then get out on the field with him Monday.”

Njoku has not lived up to his Round 1 billing yet, leading the Browns to give Austin Hooper a tight end-record contract. While Njoku’s unhappiness was reported to predate the team’s Hooper addition, he tweeted that he “loves Cleveland” while noting the game includes “a lot of complications.” Regardless, Njoku is set to earn $1.76MM this season. The Browns picked up his fifth-year option (worth $6MM) but can cut bait on that cost before the 2021 league year.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Despite the COVID-19 pandemic preventing teams from conducting on-field workouts throughout the offseason, the Browns have not changed their plan at tackle. First-round pick Jedrick Wills will begin his career as Cleveland’s starting left tackle, Stefanski adds. The Alabama product will make the interesting transition from college right tackle to NFL left tackle. Recently signed free agent Jack Conklin, a college left tackle, will continue his NFL right tackle work.
  • The Browns hired former Vikings QBs coach Kevin Rogers as a senior offensive assistant. Rogers was with the Vikings from 2006-10, which doubled as Stefanski’s first five years with the franchise, but has not coached since 2016. Rogers, 68, spent decades at the college level. He worked as the offensive coordinator for Syracuse (1991-98), Notre Dame (1999-2001) and Boston College (2011). His most recent gig was at alma mater William & Mary; that four-year stay ended after the 2016 season.
  • The Ravens will use Jimmy Smith in a matchup-based capacity. They are trying their longtime starting cornerback at safety and in the slot, John Harbaugh said. As of now, there is no plan to permanently move the veteran corner to safety. The Ravens are deep at cornerback, with Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey and slot man Tavon Young back in the fold. Young, however, has missed two of the past three full seasons. Harbaugh said the fifth-year corner is back to 100% after a neck injury last summer.
  • Ravens rookie UDFA tight end Jacob Breeland will miss the 2020 season, Harbaugh confirmed. The Oregon product was one of the top contenders for Baltimore’s No. 3 tight end spot, per The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec (subscription required).
  • As expected, Joe Burrow‘s rookie year will consist of on-the-job training. The Bengals will not give one of their more experienced QBs the first snaps as their starter in training camp. Burrow will take them, Zac Taylor said, per Marisa Contipelli of Bengals.com (on Twitter). Cincinnati returns 2019 draftee Ryan Finley and agreed to terms with fifth-year quarterback Brandon Allen, who worked with Taylor in Los Angeles.

North Notes: Ravens, Amos, Steelers

Rumors of the Ravens becoming the latest team to execute a tag-and-trade transaction have not surfaced in months, and Matt Judon is not expecting to be dealt. The franchise-tagged outside linebacker signed his tender Thursday night and expects to be with the Ravens this season, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Although the Ravens acquired All-Pro defensive lineman Calais Campbell, they did not make a big move at outside linebacker this offseason. They will need their top 2019 edge defender back to anchor their pass rush.

Here is the latest from the North divisions, continuing first with more news out of Baltimore:

  • John Harbaugh said (via Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun) cornerback Jimmy Smith could see some time at safety. The veteran cornerback re-signed earlier this year and is set to play a 10th season in Baltimore. The Ravens have Earl Thomas and the recently extended Chuck Clark at safety, so it will be interesting to see how they deploy Smith this season.
  • The pectoral injury Adrian Amos battled in the playoffs did not require surgery, and the Packers safety said he is back to 100%, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, on Twitter. Amos played all but four of Green Bay’s defensive snaps during the regular season but was unable to finish the NFC championship game.
  • Two of the league’s most influential decision-makers were against the fourth-and-15 proposal, which the NFL tabled Thursday. Both Steelers owner Art Rooney II and HC Mike Tomlin, the latter a member of the competition committee, came out against the proposal — one that gained steam from last year to the point where ownership was split on it. “We’re open to thinking, ‘Is there something we can do with the kickoff in more of a traditional setting that might allow onside kicks a better chance of happening? But this one was too much of a gimmick,” Rooney said, via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “(Tomlin) and I didn’t like the idea.” Rooney said interest remains in finding an alternative to the current onside kick setup, which has hindered comeback efforts since a recent rule change prevented kicking-team players from running starts prior to the kick.

Ravens To Re-Sign CB Jimmy Smith

The Ravens have agreed to re-sign cornerback Jimmy Smith, as Smith himself tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Smith will ink a one-year deal worth $3.5MM, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com, who adds Smith can earn another $2.5MM via playtime incentives.

Smith had spent his entire career in Baltimore since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2011, but it was unclear if he’d be sticking with the Ravens going forward. Baltimore allowed the veteran defensive back to reach the free agent market, but he’s now returning on a relatively team-friendly deal.

Smith made the fewest starts of his career (five) in 2019, thanks in large part to a knee injury that sidelined him for much of the season. Health questions have historically been a problem for Smith, who has only played a full 16-game slate twice in nine NFL seasons.

Baltimore ranked fourth in the league in pass defense DVOA, and the club will now return almost all of its cornerbacks — save for Brandon Carr — in 2020. Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, and Tavon Young comprise the Ravens’ starting corner package, leaving Smith as a well-compensated, highly-experienced dime defensive back.

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.