Ravens Get Jimmy For Another Year, Maybe More
You can count on cornerback Jimmy Smith wearing a Ravens uniform at least through 2015, and maybe even longer.
The Ravens picked up the fifth-year option of Smith's rookie contract worth around $6.5 million, according to ESPN's Field Yates. His salary is determined by the average of the 25 highest-paid corners, with the top three excluded.
The news doesn't come as a huge surprise since Head Coach John Harbaugh said last month that the team planned on picking up the fifth-year option before the May 3 deadline. Otherwise, Smith's contract would have expired after this season.
Now, the real question is whether the Ravens can lock Smith up beyond 2015.
The Ravens have said they would like agree to a long-term contract extension with both him and wide receiver Torrey Smith. Torrey will be first on the priority list since he is heading into the final year of his deal.
Either way, keeping the cornerback around for another season is great news for the Ravens.
The 2011 first-round pick emerged as one of the Ravens' top defenders last year, imposing his big body (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) and athleticism on opposing receivers. Smith, 25, started all 16 games, notching 58 tackles, 15 passes defensed and two interceptions.
He stood toe-to-toe with some of the best receivers the league has to offer, limiting the likes of A.J. Green, Josh Gordon, Antonio Brown and Brandon Marshall. Lardarius Webb sees himself and Smith emerging into one of the NFL's "great duos."
"In 2013, Smith lived up to the expectations of being the No. 27 overall pick after a couple of up and down seasons," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "He not only emerged as the team's top cornerback in his first full season as a starter but he ranked among the best in the AFC North.
"No one would've envisioned the Ravens picking up this option during the 2012 season, when Jimmy Smith couldn't beat out Cary Williams or Corey Graham for a starting job. Then, in two critical end zone plays against the San Francisco 49ers, Smith helped the Ravens win a Super Bowl and turned around his career in the process."
What Does Reinstating Rolando McClain Mean?
Despite his shaky workout Tuesday, the Ravens are seemingly leaving the door open for linebacker Rolando McClain.
Or are they?
Baltimore has reportedly activated McClain from the reserve/retired list, which means he officially has come out of retirement.
The activation could simply be the first step to cutting McClain and allowing him to pursue his career with another team. Or, this could be a move that allows him to participate in the Ravens offseason program, get into shape and the team can monitor whether he can contribute this season.
The Ravens have not indicated which route they will go, but many outsiders note there is essentially no risk in evaluating his progress this offseason, and if he excels, he could provide a big upside. Keeping the former first-round pick now doesn't guarantee he will be on the team in September.
"Seems [there's] lots of concern with #Ravens reinstating Rolando McClain from reserve-retired list... This is so he can work out with team- what's it hurt?" tweeted CSNBaltimore.com's Brent Harris.
McClain's one-year contract is reportedly worth $700,000, and that low number is not even guaranteed. If he makes the team, he could provide depth behind Daryl Smith and Arthur Brown. The 24-year-old linebacker hasn't played in an NFL game since the 2012 season and the Ravens may be interested in seeing what he can do.
"Getting a longer look at McClain really carries no risk," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson. "However, McClain does come with a host of questions and plenty of off-the-field baggage. He mostly struggled in three seasons with the Raiders.
"There were some reports that McClain … arrived late for his workout at the Under Armour Performance Center. A team source denied that was the case. Still, there was no debate among Ravens officials who witnessed the workout that McClain was nowhere close to the form that would allow him to contribute to the team in 2014."
Draft Chatter Surrounding Mosley
While the McClain situation is in wait-and-see mode, the Ravens still need linebackers and there is draft chatter surrounding Alabama inside linebacker C. J. Mosley.
If Mosely is still available at the No. 17 pick, CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown makes a case for nabbing him, noting McClain can't be counted on and Brown isn't locked in as the starter.
"Right tackle and free safety are the two most obvious needs for the Ravens. But what if Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan are both gone when the Ravens pick at No. 17?" Brown asked. "Many scouts believe Mosley has the talent to start at inside linebacker as a rookie."
- Former Ravens receiver Tandon Doss, now with the Jacksonville Jaguars, was arrested for disorderly conduct Wednesday in his hometown of Indianapolis. Doss was not charged, however. He was taken into custody after two men approached a patrol car and said the driver of a black Dodge was following him. When the officer approached Doss, he was yelling into a phone. The incident reported noted Doss was "out of control" and refused to follow instructions, so he was removed from the car and arrested. He was later released to his father. [The Florida Times-Union]
- The Ravens were named one of the "winners" in free agency. "Joe Flacco looms as a bounce-back candidate because of what general manager Ozzie Newsome has accomplished during Baltimore's active offseason," wrote Marc Sessler. "Re-signing left tackle Eugene Monroe ensures the Ravens a solid bookend for years to come while Jeremy Zuttah is an upgrade over last year's center, Gino Gradkowski. The team also locked up pass-catching tight end Dennis Pitta to go along with the recently signed Owen Daniels. Throw in Steve Smith – and a running back to be named – and Baltimore's offense should be less of a snoozefest in 2014." [NFL.com]
- In his latest mock draft, Mel Kiper moves the Ravens away from an offensive pick to a defensive one. He now envisions the Ravens selecting Louisville safety Calvin Pryor at No. 17. In the second round, he has the Ravens taking South Carolina wide receiver Bruce Ellington. "This could be a little high for Ellington, who has had impressive big-game performances but not the consistent production," Hensley wrote of Kiper's pick. "It makes sense that Kiper has the Ravens going with Ellington because he's the typical slot receiver who could be Steve Smith's understudy as a rookie." [ESPN]
- @TheSeventyFifth [Eugene Monroe]: Happy Birthday to me! … Blessed to experience 27 years on Earth [Twitter]
- @TorreySmithWR: Watching my son and studying the playbook...the life! [Twitter]