The Baltimore Ravens have made arguably their most important contract extension since re-signing quarterback Joe Flacco during the 2013 offseason. The Ravens and cornerback Jimmy Smith have agreed to a contract extension worth 48 million over five years and 21 million guaranteed according to Profootballtalk's Twitter account. Smith was entering the last year of his contract.
A lot was made earlier this off-season about the lack of moves the Ravens have made by letting go of veteran wide receiver Torrey Smith and trading away veteran defensive tackle Haloti Ngata but the Ravens may have made up for some of those key losses by extending Jimmy Smith.
The Ravens during the 2014 season struggled in pass defense without Jimmy Smith which ultimately cost them a playoff game in their loss to the New England Patriots by becoming the first team in NFL playoff history to give up a 14-point lead on 2 separate occasions. The loss of Jimmy Smith last season also resulted in strong safety Matt Elam playing nickel more often than he should have and left the Ravens playing a little bit more vanilla on defense.
Now with Jimmy Smith back in the fold for years to come, the extension not only allows the Ravens to play defense more aggressively, it also allows the Ravens to trust their draft board a bit more as the team will get ready for the 2015 NFL draft shortly. The contract extension however doesn't rule out the fact that the Ravens could still select another cornerback with the 26th overall pick in the first round.
When healthy, Jimmy Smith is the best defensive player the Ravens have and also the worst possible player to lose to injury for a significant amount of time. Top cornerbacks in the NFL don't grow on trees.