According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Smith has agreed to a five-year, $100 million extension with the Ravens, the team that acquired him at the 2022 trade deadline. The deal reportedly includes $45 million fully guaranteed and $60 million in total guarantees, both tops at the position.
An impact addition from Day 1
Putting positional value to one side to evaluate the player in a vacuum, Smith and the Ravens have been a fantastic match since his arrival on trade deadline day.
The eighth overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft has produced a career-high 84.7 PFF grade since joining the team, a mark that leads all Ravens defenders this season. Not only that, but it’s the highest single-season grade by a Ravens linebacker since Ray Lewis in 2009.
Highest-graded seasons by a Ravens linebacker (2006-2022; min. 200 snaps played)
|Player||Season||Snaps played||PFF grade|
Smith's PFF grade is tied for second at the position since Week 9, which is when he arrived in Baltimore. Over that same time, he is tied for 14th in defensive stops (30) and tied for 11th in total pressures (8).
Before his arrival, the Ravens had allowed 0.018 expected points added (EPA) per play on defense, tied for the 10th-worst mark in the NFL. But over the second half of the season, they flipped to the fifth-stingiest defense in that regard at -0.109 EPA allowed per play.
No, that’s not all down to Smith, but when you look at his individual performance and that of the Baltimore defense as a whole, it’s easy to see why the Ravens think he is a player they want to keep around long term.
Roquan Smith's new contract
Smith becomes the highest-paid off-ball linebacker in the NFL after agreeing in principle to a five-year, $100 million extension with the Baltimore Ravens, the team that acquired him at the trade deadline. The deal reportedly includes $45 million fully guaranteed and $60 million in total guarantees, both tops at the position.
The guarantees are very strong, continuing a recent trend with the Ravens where they keep the overall value of deals in a reasonable range and in turn guarantee more money than comparable deals at the top of the market.
FRANCHISE TAG IN STORE FOR LAMAR JACKSON?
Smith couldn't have landed with a better club at the deadline — not only because of his fit on the field but more so because teams only get to use one franchise tag per offseason, and the Ravens have to save theirs for quarterback Lamar Jackson.
This is why the deal was agreed to in principle in early January, as Baltimore didn't want to let Smith reach free agency and get into a bidding war. The Ravens surely planned for this outcome after parting with a second-round pick and more to acquire Smith.
Baltimore has a lot of money tied up in defensive players who aren't on the generally more-expensive defensive line, with cornerback Marlon Humphrey and safety Marcus Williams both among the 10 highest-paid at their respective positions, as well.
Expect the Ravens to place the franchise tag on Jackson in early March and then work to iron out a long-term deal. They can afford to, so there's no reason for concern there, but the cap is getting really tight.