General Manager Eric DeCosta gave strong support to the notion of keeping veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith in a Ravens uniform next season. There has been media speculation about Smith's future with the team, considering he carries a $15.85 million salary cap hit next season according to Spotrac, making Smith among the highest-salaried NFL cornerbacks.
However, Smith played excellent football late in the 2018 season and Baltimore's secondary may be the NFL's deepest and most-talented featuring Smith, Brandon Carr, Marlon Humphrey and Tavon Young at cornerback, with Earl Thomas and Tony Jefferson as the starting safeties.
Having a secondary as versatile as the Ravens' could serve them very well in their quest to repeat as division champs. While he made no guarantees, DeCosta made it clear he values Smith's talent and experience.
"One of the greatest strengths of our team right now is our secondary," said DeCosta on Monday from the NFL Annual League Meetings in Phoenix. "I think it would be foolish for us to make a strength a weakness for no reason.
"It's a very fluid process. We're in good shape right now salary-cap wise. Jimmy's a good player. We've got a really, really good secondary and it's a passing league. I think that's important."
The Ravens had the NFL's No. 1-ranked defense last season, one of the keys to them winning the AFC North. Despite the Pittsburgh Steelers trading wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders, the division remains loaded with top receivers like Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry with the Cleveland Browns, JuJu Smith-Schuster with the Steelers, and A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd with the Cincinnati Bengals.
The 30-year-old Smith has spent his entire NFL career with the Ravens after being drafted in the first round (27th overall) in 2011. He had two interceptions in the regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns, a 26-24 victory that clinched the AFC North for the Ravens.