Daryl Smith is staying in Baltimore.
The veteran inside linebacker agreed to a four-year contract with the Ravens on Friday. The deal is worth $16.1 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“I’m really just fired up,” Smith said. “I knew I wanted to be back and I’m happy we could come to an agreement so I could get back in there for four years.”
Re-signing Smith allows the Ravens to fill one of their top defensive priorities. He is a leader in the middle of the defense and one of the team’s most productive players.
“There are a lot of smiles around the building today after we got a commitment from
Smith started every game at middle linebacker last year and led the Ravens with 123 tackles. He also had five sacks and three interceptions.
“Just look at his production last season, plus he gave us leadership and maturity,” Newsome said. “He’s tough, he’s consistent, he’s intelligent, and he brings his lunch pail to work every day.”
Smith, 32, joined the Ravens last season after spending the first nine years of his career in Jacksonville. He signed just a one-year deal after an injury-plagued season during his final year in Jacksonville, leading to questions about his long-term prospects in the NFL.
Smith proved last year that he still has plenty of good football left in him and is now reaping the rewards with a new contract. He will anchor the defense from the middle linebacker spot that Ray Lewis played for 17 seasons in Baltimore.
“I knew it was a one-year deal, but I was hoping I could come in and prove I could still play and I could still do this for a while,” Smith said. “You really don’t know at the time. But as the season progressed, I felt better with the team and how I played, and I definitely wanted to be back.”
Keeping Smith was important for the Ravens, as they already parted ways with one veteran linebacker this offseason. The Ravens cut Jameel McClain, who signed with the New York Giants Thursday.
Smith’s decision continues the offseason trend of the Ravens keeping their top unrestricted free agents. The Ravens already re-signed left tackle
“This organization as a whole is really first class with everything they do,” Smith said. “I love my teammates, the coaches are great coaches.”