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Knee-Jerk Reactions Ravens Keep Smith, Levine

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A few of the writers here at RSR weigh in with their thoughts on the re-signings of Jimmy Smith and Anthony Levine, Sr.

Tony Lombardi

I don’t think Jimmy played all that well in 2019 and he’s a player that you can never really count on. I like him on the field when there’s a long, rangy WR opposite him because he contests jump balls. But when faced with smaller receivers with plus change-of-direction skills, he’s often too far removed from the receiver to make a play on the ball. If reports from Jason LaCanfora are true about his new deal (I know, right?), Jimmy’s cap hit will be $3.5M in salary, with another $2.5M in incentives. Hopefully those incentives are deemed NLTBE and pushed into 2021. At $3.5M, I’m ok with the deal but that said, I don’t count on much from Smith other than decent depth.

As for Levine, again, right player-right price but his special teams leadership and his Swiss Army Knife skill set can’t be understated. Even Football League Tables probably had No. 41 returning to his familiar jersey. At the end of the day, the Ravens need to improve on teams, not continue their decent. Keeping Anthony around for another campaign clearly helps in that regard and probably brings a smile to the face of Wink Martindale.

Todd Karpovich

— The signings of Smith and Levine add further depth and leadership to an already talented secondary. It also gives DeCosta more flexibility with the draft.

– Smith was allowed to test the free-agent market but quickly found out the grass is not always greener on the other side. He had expressed a desire to stay with the Ravens and he got his wish. He’s likely third on the depth chart, which could help him avoid the injuries that might come with playing every snap.

— Levine is versatile. He can play linebacker and is a key contributor on special teams. Levine also provides valuable mentorship to some of the young players.

— The signings underscore a successful offseason so far for the Ravens.

Michael Hickey

Eric DeCosta continues to make moves as the 2020 Ravens roster begins to shape up, most recently bringing back Jimmy Smith and Anthony Levine. While some fans including myself were hoping for Clay Matthews to help with the pass rush rotation, Smith brings an experienced veteran who played well last season to back up Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. Wink will certainly find a way to get all 3 on the field in certain packages.

Levine brings much needed experience and leadership to a special teams group that struggled at times in 2019. He also provides much needed depth on defense. These moves will seem under the radar outside of Baltimore, but DeCosta is trying to keep last year’s defense mostly intact while adding guys like Calais Campbell and Michael Brockers to put them over the top.

This likely means the Ravens will be quiet the rest of free agency which is fine. With the draft and post draft moves still ahead, this is a very talented team at this point.

Chad Racine

I was expecting and hoping that either Jimmy Smith or Brandon Carr would return. The deal is reportedly up to $6 million which means the deal is incentive laden. Jimmy is still a top corner in the league and having him as a rotational piece is extremely valuable. Chances are there will be an injury or more to the corners on the roster. Keeping Jimmy on a one-year deal was also a smart move with his injury history. If he gets injured again this year that will probably be the last of Jimmy Smith. In the meantime I’m happy Jimmy Smith is still a Raven.

I haven’t seen the numbers on the Anthony Levine’s contract but I’m sure it’s very manageable. Levine seemed to fall out of favor with Wink last year as his playing time diminished significantly as the season went on. I’m sure with letting Brandon Carr walk that Levine’s role should expand and help replace Carr. He’ll probably be more of a safety than a dime linebacker like he has been the last couple of years. I’m also happy with this signing even if his role is mostly on special teams. Considering there is little salary cap space left my feeling that Matthew Judon gets traded is getting stronger.

Aidan Griesser

— Both of these moves bring back trusted veterans who know the scheme and have proven to be successful leaders in Baltimore. I’d prefer that to replacing either of them with a newcomer

— Jimmy Smith, if healthy, is a tremendous third cornerback, probably one of the best in the entire NFL. That goes to show how deep this secondary is; they’ll be a force again in 2020.

— Co Cap (Levine), is an outstanding special teamer and has seen improved production on defense in recent years. He’s an underrated fan favorite and deserves every penny he’s earned. My only concern with his resigning is whether or not there are enough snaps for Baltimore to try out their youngsters with similar play styles. The big-name that stands out to me is DeShon Elliot, who could be a similar player with better playmaking ability. At Levine’s price tag, though, I still think it’s a great move.

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