Price Might Not be Right For Daryl Smith

NFL: Preseason-Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Daryl Smith showed the world during the 2013 season that his NFL career wasn’t finished.

He led the Ravens in tackles (123), was second in interceptions (3), second in forced fumbles (2), third in sacks (5) and he had the team’s only defensive touchdown, a pick 6 against the Houston Texans.

Smith also helped make the transition from the Ray Lewis era as seamless as possible while wearing the green dot as the defensive signal caller.

Essentially Smith did everything the Ravens hoped and then some.

But now he’s a free agent and many wonder if he’ll return to Baltimore.

As always for the Ravens and Ozzie Newsome it boils down to “right player, right price.” Unfortunately for those who want Smith to return another team is likely to offer more for Smith than the Ravens could be willing to pony up.

And here’s why…

Smith at this point in his career is a far better player against the pass than he is in run support. According to Pro Football FocusSmith was the 16th ranked inside linebacker in 2013. That’s not too bad and given the $1M+ contract he provided great value.

In pass coverage Smith was the 5th best ILB but against the run Smith dropped to 50th.

Against the AFC North division rivals Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Cleveland Smith was unimpressive in run support receiving negative marks in each of the 6 contests, again per Pro Football Focus.

Making things even more complicated is the player slated to play next to Smith if he returns to Baltimore – promising second year player Arthur Brown.

Brown has been compared to the 49ers Navarro Bowman and possesses off-the-chart physical skills. Insiders are very excited about his potential in the 2014 season but that said, most see him as more of a cover linebacker than a prototypical run stuffer – at least at this stage of his development.

Pairing Smith next to Brown is akin to asking Elvis Dumervil to hold down the edge in run support.

In other words the combination of Smith and Brown might not work since they are an old and new version of the same player.

So it comes back to the asking price.

It’s possible that Smith could be a Raven again but his stats and productivity as a cover ILB might equate to more dollars with a team that already has a run-stuffing ILB and wants to improve their intermediate pass coverage. If so they should be willing to pay Smith more than the Ravens.

Anything is possible and the longer Smith remains a free agent, the closer he’ll get to being a Raven again because his asking price will drop.

Remember, “right player, right price.”

Will Daryl Smith be a Raven in 2014?
Yes (53%)
No (47%)
This poll has completed. Thank you for voting.
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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

12 Raves on “Price Might Not be Right For Daryl Smith

    • Marcus on said:

      You know Jimmie, you make a good point. As much as I would like to have Smith back because he knows the system and we know what we have in him, Spikes may be a good fall back plan.

    • on said:

      First name that popped in my head as well. It is funny because i thought smith’s weakest area was the run as well

  1. Mike Bernstein on said:

    Don’t forget that McClain is planning a comeback and he’s expressed a desire to play in Baltimore. If he’s focused, he could show that he’s an upgrade over Smith. He’ll be playing to show something as well since he’s on a low one year deal.

  2. Jake on said:

    Latest news is that McClain is NOT coming back yet.
    That was the news coming out AFTER Alabama’s pro day.
    McClain said he has two college course to take this summer and that is his priority.
    He is trying to get his degree first.

    Smith was the experienced leader that we needed last year.
    Even other veterans looked to him.
    If it is not him, someone has big shoes to fill.
    Playing inside linebacker and just tackling is not the only requirement.
    We will need that go to leader again.

  3. John P on said:

    D@mn Tony!

    I bet if you had taken this poll an hour before writing this article, 90% of us would have bet on him coming back. I still voted that way, but that’s just because I know the front office likes him.

    Fantastic article, fantastic insight!

    Great job!

    PS: Please kill the reCAPTCHA system. This is my third attempt at posting, and if I don’t get it right the first time on a reply, the system actually “forgets” it’s a reply.

  4. JerryB on said:

    It’s fun debating and opining on these things, but in the final analysis, Ozzie Newsome knows what’s needed to improve this team’s chances of returning to the playoffs next year and you can “bet the ranch” that he has a plan to do it! The “right player, right price” mantra has served them well over the years…….

  5. Raven lady on said:

    Another one who will get a payday ONLY because he became a RAVEN. Didn’t he play for Jacksonville for like 10 years or something before we got him? I like the guy a lot, I really do BUT not enough to over pay

  6. PG County Raven on said:

    Good analysis. I learned a long time ago, the numbers don’t lie – they rule the world. Right player. Right price. So be it!

  7. j on said:

    Pro Football Focus is not the end all be all. Daryl Smith brought more to the Ravens then just Pass Coverage. 120+ tackles, 5 Sacks and 3 Interceptions, not to mention he broke Rays Pass break up Record with 18+. He is the only legit 3 down ILBr the Ravens have on the Roster who is a tackling machine and a defensive playmaker whether it be blitzing for a sack or reading a QBs eyes for a INT. No hes not RAY but hes a pro bowl caliber player now that hes out of Jacksonville in a winning situatuon getting recognized. If your banking on Josh Bynes a guy who misses half his tackles and cant get off a block is only semi productive in stopping the run every other game, and who was upgraded and replaced by Jameel Mclain last year after a career and pisdible life threatening injury who is now signed on with the Giants your kidding yourself. Art Brown is the weakside chase linebacker so he is going to fill the Ellerbe role if anything, our LBing and Defense will have even more holes then the offense if D Smith doesnt resign.

  8. TRUTH on said:

    Wow, I knew he struggled against the run but didn’t realize it was that bad. Great breakdown Tony. The grades against the Division are telling though. Had to do a double take on that one.

    Well, looks like I’m off to do some homework on CJ Mosely now.

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