Ravens Reunite With All-Pro Pass Rusher on Team-Friendly Deal: Report

Ravens Za'Darius Smith

Getty Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith celebrates a 2015 sack.

The Baltimore Ravens have made their third major move of 2022 free agency, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, bringing outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith back to Baltimore after signing safety Marcus Williams and offensive tackle Morgan Moses on March 15.

Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic confirmed the reunion, which sees Smith agree to a four-year, $35 million contract that has a maximum value of $50 million.

That’s a steal for a premier pass rusher with 26 sacks, two Pro Bowls and a second-team All-Pro selection in his last two full seasons. The base deal pays Smith under $9 million per year, less than the top 30 edge rusher contracts in the NFL, per OverTheCap. Even if Smith hits all of his incentives to unlock the contract’s maximum value, it still wouldn’t rank among the top 20 deals at his position.

The back injury that limited Smith to just two games in 2021 likely contributed to his team-friendly deal, but he could have also given the Ravens a hometown discount to contend for a Super Bowl with Lamar Jackson.

After all, the Ravens were among the first teams linked with Smith when he was released by the Green Bay Packers on March 14, with a clear need at outside linebacker after Tyus Bowser suffered a torn Achilles in Baltimore’s regular season finale. 

The former fourth-round draft pick will be a dangerous addition to the Ravens’ revamped defense under new defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, who was a defensive assistant during Smith’s first stint in Baltimore from 2014 to 2018.

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