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Ravens Reach Contract Agreement With Cornerback Jimmy Smith

Posted Apr 21, 2015

The Ravens have locked up their young cornerback with a new deal.

The Ravens have made perhaps their biggest move of the offseason.

The team reached an agreement on a four-year contract extension with cornerback Jimmy Smith Tuesday afternoon, locking him up to a long-term deal before he enters the final year of his rookie contract. Smith is now signed through the 2019 season.

“I’m tremendously happy,” Smith said minutes after reaching the deal. “I plan on getting rings.”

The contract is reportedly worth up to $48 million over the five years, coming out to about $10.27 annually, according to NFL Media’s Albert Breer. If that report is correct, that would put Smith in the top-6 paid cornerbacks in terms of annual pay, but in a tier below the Jets’ Darrell Revis ($14.02 million annually), Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson ($14.01 million), and Seahawks Richard Sherman ($14.00 million) and Browns’ Joe Haden ($13.50 million).

“For me it was never truly about being the highest paid corner,” Smith said. “I knew I couldn’t be that on this team and be here just because of the talent already spread around. You have to pay other people, so I knew that going into it.”

The move allows the Ravens to keep one of their top young defenders in Baltimore. Smith, a 2011 first-round pick, is heading into his fifth NFL season.

The 26-year-old cornerback was in the midst of a breakout season last year when he suffered a season-ending foot injury against the Bengals in Week 8. He showed that he has the potential to be lockdown defender before getting hurt, and he finished the year with 28 tackles, one interception and six passes defensed. 

“I think that his best football is still ahead of him,” General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. “If he doesn’t get hurt in the Cincinnati game last year, I don’t know where he could have ended up at as a player, but he was definitely trending up.”

Smith has remained in Baltimore throughout the offseason to continue rehabbing his foot, and he hopes to be full strength by the time training camp opens in late July. He didn’t get into details about where he is in his rehab, but he joked with a reporter by saying, “I could beat you in a race.”

“Now I can just focus on getting healthy and getting back on the field,” Smith said. “That’s all of my focus.”

Smith said in March that his hope was to get a deal done before the season when he’d have to play out the final year of his rookie contract. The reality of signing a new contract set in about a week ago after several conversations with Head Coach John Harbaugh, and talks also progressed with Newsome and his agent Drew Rosenhaus.

Staying with the team that drafted him is a relief to Smith. He hasn’t forgotten the media reports of “character concerns” that surrounded him coming out of the draft, and he valued that commitment from the Ravens as he went through the process of negotiations. 

“They drafted me. They trusted me,” Smith said. “Coming out of the draft, you guys read it, it made me feel some type of way. But for this organization to stand behind me through everything that has happened even up to this point, it means a lot. They have my back, so I’m staying here.”

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