What's Next for Ravens Cornerback Jimmy Smith?
Jimmy Smith has battled injuries throughout his career.
But when he's healthy, the Ravens cornerback is one of the team's top playmakers.
Smith, who was drafted by the Ravens in the first round (27th overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft, is an unrestricted free agent and has stated his preference to remain in Baltimore.
Coach John Harbaugh concurs.
"I want to re-sign Jimmy Smith. He’s the one free agent, I think, in the back end," Harbaugh said.
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.
"We have a lot of pieces coming back and we gelled together good on the field and played together good. I'm excited to have everyone coming back," Clark said this week.
The Ravens would also like to finalize a deal with Pro-Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who is eligible for free agency in 2022, but he could command a huge contract.
Smith hopes he can continue to play a significant role in that secondary.
It's just another bog decision the Ravens have to make this offseason.