Ravens Cornerback Jimmy Smith Could Test Free-Agent Market for First Time

Todd Karpovich

Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith has never tested the open market.

He planned to keep it that way despite being eligible for free agency this offseason. 

Smith has stated his preference to re-sign with the Ravens, the team that selected him in the first round (27th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft, 

However, Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta confirmed at the 2020 NFL Combine that Smith had a change of mind and might want to explore other opportunities when free agency officially opens next month.

"We've had conversations with Jimmy," DeCosta said at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. "We've had conversations during the season, we've had conversations with Jimmy since the season. Lots of respect for Jimmy. Thought he played his best football later in the year. 

"Jimmy's a guy that we value, so we'll see. 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."

Smith, 31, has only played a full season just twice over his nine-year career. In addition to injuries, he has also been suspended twice by the NFL for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs and "improper conduct" toward a former girlfriend.

Last season, he overcame a right knee injury in the regular-season opener against Miami and finished with one interception, six passes defended, one sack, 30 combined tackles over nine games. Overall, Smith is ranked seventh in franchise history with 14 interceptions.

Smith already signed a four-year, $48 million contract extension that included $21 million in guaranteed money in 2015. Smith's price tag could be in the $7-million range per year. The team could create about $6 million with the salary cap by releasing fellow cornerback Brandon Carr.

"The Ravens know how much I love them, and I know how much the Ravens love me, and I went through some stuff," Smith said. "It could have easily gone both ways, so I’m excited and happy to still be here.”

General manager Eric DeCosta has already invested heavily in the secondary. Cornerbacks Tavon Young and Marcus Peters, in addition to safety Chuck Clark, have already signed contract extensions over the past year.

After this past season, Ravens coach John Harbaugh had stated a preference to bring Smith back. 

I want to re-sign Jimmy Smith. He’s the one free agent, I think, in the back end," Harbaugh said.