Roquan Smith, a middle linebacker who played in the Pro Bowl, is expected to remain the Baltimore Ravens’ primary defensive player after half a season.
A team source confirmed that Smith agreed to a five-year extension on Tuesday. According to the NFL Network, the contract is worth $100 million, making him the highest-paid inside linebacker in the league with a salary of $20 million per season.
Not only will the extension with Smith prevent Baltimore’s best defensive player from leaving in two months; The Ravens will be able to use the franchise tag on quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is exercising the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, as a result of this.
Since the Ravens acquired Smith, 25, from the Chicago Bears in October for second- and fifth-round picks in the 2023 NFL draft, he has lived up to expectations. Smith was the NFL’s third-leading tackler this season (169) for a Baltimore defense that allowed the third-fewest points (18.5). He was also named to his first Pro Bowl. Smith is a leader and sets the tone.
John Harbaugh, the head coach of the Ravens, said of Smith on Monday, “He wants to do the things that are required to be a great player and to be a great unit and then to impact your team.” That’s all he cares about, in every way, and I love that about him. He’s one of the best people I’ve ever seen in that way, and I think that always has an effect on everyone as a leader.”
Baltimore’s Smith has had the most impact in the second half of the season. The defense finished 20th in points allowed (22.9) and 24th in yards allowed (364.3) in the first eight games played by the Ravens without Smith. The defense held opponents to the third-fewest yards and second-fewest points in the NFL during Baltimore’s nine games with Smith.
He is the first player since Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis to have at least 100 tackles, multiple sacks, and an interception in his first five seasons.
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