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Za’Darius Smith Coming Back to Baltimore

training camp review
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
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On Wednesday afternoon, rumors that had been circulating were confirmed, as NFL Network reported that Za’Darius Smith will be rejoining the Ravens.

RSR staff react to the signing here…

Darin McCann

You really can’t help but smile with these additions, and Smith is an unexpected cherry on top of a Ravens sundae of goodness. Smith, Odafe Oweh and a hopefully-healthy Tyus Bowser can provide the coaches a ton of flexibility and athleticism. In today’s NFL, it doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.

Ronald Toothe

Eric DeCosta works his magic yet again. Once the news of Chandler Jones signing with the Raiders dropped, it felt like all but a certainty that an edge-needy team would pony up the brinks truck for Z’s services. Instead, he returns home on a deal with an $8.75 million AAV (roughly half of what Jones got), and the Ravens have another cornerstone in place to rebuild their feared defense of old. It’s clear that the front office has heard the public outcry about their lack of aggressiveness in the free agency market, and they’ve done nothing short of silencing the doubters over the last 48 hours. What a move, what a reunion, what a day!

Ben Dackiw

EDC isn’t playing around.

I was expecting one, maybe too big signings. Not three. If EDC kills this draft, the Ravens will be in very good shape for 2022 and beyond.

Having an experienced guy like Z to put next to Osage makes this Ravens pass rush all the more deadly.

And the Ravens are getting him for less than 9 million AAV.

Absolute win.

Nikhil Mehta

In EDC we trust, Ravens fans. We love reunions in Baltimore, especially with a player as talented as Za’Darius Smith. He’s the proven pass-rushing threat that became even more necessary when Tyus Bowser went down, and he’ll pair with Oweh for a solid one-two punch off the edge. This also frees up the Ravens to draft literally anyone at 14, making a BPA pick more and more likely.

But most of all, let’s look at the deal. I would have been happy with a base contract of four years and $50 million, but that’s the maximum value of the deal. The base deal is for just $35 million, less than $9 million per year for a premier edge rusher. EDC has still got that magic.

Rob Shields

Everyone is excited about this deal and I get that it COULD be good value but you are also talking about a guy who turns 30 in early September and is coming off a season where he missed basically the whole thing with a back injury. He was shut down two different times before having back surgery last September.

Backs don’t tend to get better with age, so this deal comes with a lot of risk. That being said, we don’t know the contract details yet and if the contract is done in a way where it’s easy to get out of with minimal issues, that would be good.

If he is healthy and able to stay on the field, he should be able to really help the pass rush. In his two years of being healthy in GB, he was one of three players in the league to post back to back 12+ sack seasons. He had 8.5 sacks his last year in Baltimore before that, so he was certainly trending in the right direction. Let’s hope he stays on the field and if he does, this should be a good deal.

Chad Racine

I’m starting to sound like a broken record but getting Za’Darius Smith back was exactly who I wanted. Now his career has completely followed Pernell McPhee’s. I wasn’t sure landing Smith would end up being a four-year deal which is a huge added bonus. I don’t know how fans can complain but I have learned this time of year they always do. That is three huge signings in areas of need so I’d expect any future moves to be minor ones. Now all signs really point to a first round corner in the draft.

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