What did the Baltimore Ravens do most correctly this offseason? Here are three golden ideas Eric DeCosta had:
3. Bringing back Jimmy Smith:
Where would the Baltimore Ravens be right now if they didn’t bring back Jimmy Smith? That’s a serious question. They lost Tavon Young for the season in the second game of the year. Jimmy Smith has been with the Ravens since he was drafted in 2011. Bringing Smith back is a move that hits the feel good center of the brain, he probably gets to be a Raven for life. It’s also a move that worked out even better than expected.
The Ravens have gotten more versatility out of Smith than they’ve ever asked for in the past. With Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters being the main attraction at cornerback, Smith is a bit of everything in the back end of the defense.
Smith, who Pro Football Focus has a positive grade of 75.8 this year, has played a little safety, a little nickel cornerback, and some on the outside. He’s the player he’s always been, solid in man coverage, physical and a proficient tackler. He’s made the loss of Young less of a game changer for the Ravens and he’s helping both the cornerbacks and safeties do their job.
Let’s remember how the Ravens played this. They let Brandon Carr leave for the Dallas Cowboys. They let Smith test the market and they signed him to a team friendly deal. Carr got released by what may be the worst defense in football and Smith is still a solid contributor. He has one pass defensed, 13 tackles and a sack on the year.
In terms of what veteran cornerbacks make, Smith was a bargain for the team. They’re not paying him that much in that context and they’re getting more than the box score suggests. DeCosta accomplished a rare feat here. He took care of one his guys, and went bargain shopping at the same time. That’s a big win.