Todd Olszewski / Stringer
There might be other NFL teams interested in Jimmy Smith, but he’s not interested in them. The veteran cornerback tested the free agent market in 2020 and ultimately decided to remain with the Baltimore Ravens on a one-year deal worth $6 million, effectively putting him in a contract year for the second season in a row. He’s now entering a third, having inked another one-year deal in 2021 that’s worth $5 million. The lack of a long-term deal isn’t necessarily bothering Smith, however, because of who continues to offer them.
His love is so deep for the Ravens that if they didn’t re-sign him on either occasion, he’d hang up his cleats for good.
“I absolutely will not play for another team,” Smith said, via The Athletic. “If the Ravens didn’t re-sign me last year and I felt like I could still play, I probably would have still retired.”
Craving even more NFL coverage focusing on previews, recaps, news and analysis? Listen below and follow the Pick Six podcast for a daily dose of everything you need to follow pro football.
It’s key to note Smith is only 32 years old and presumably still has a good bit of pro football left in his body, so his proclamation is certainly meaningful. For while he may not be the prime version of himself that reeled in a career-high three interceptions along with a defensive touchdown in 2017, he’s proven an ability and willingness to become a solid rotational piece in the Ravens secondary. And as yet another visit to free agency looms in 2022, there’s not much negotiating the Ravens have to do to keep him.
To his own admission, no other club stands a chance at courting him, so all the Ravens have to do is what they’ve done the last two seasons: ask him to stay and give him a pen. A former first-round pick of the organization in 2011, Smith’s career in Baltimore reached its zenith when he helped lead the team to victory in Super Bowl XLVII over the San Francisco 49ers. He only has eyes for the Ravens, so either he’ll land another deal a year from now, or likely walk away from the game.
Smith “doesn’t see” himself playing to age 35 or 36, but until he calls it a career, you’ll know where to find him.