The turbulent start to the 2019 offseason for the Baltimore Ravens continues. On Tuesday, the now former Ravens edge rusher, Za’Darius Smith, agreed to a deal with Green Bay to make him the newest Packer. Many expected that the Ravens would let Smith walk. As a young and talented pass rusher, he was set to command top dollar. And command top dollar he did. According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, the Packers gave Za’Darius Smith a contract worth over $16 million per year. The Baltimore Ravens could not afford to pay Smith anywhere near that number. As a result, Za’Darius Smith will move to Title Town.
Za’Darius Smith marks yet another Raven gone in free agency. The Baltimore Ravens lost C.J. Mosley early on Tuesday morning, and Terrell Suggs Friday evening. The Ravens also cut Eric Weddle and Michael Crabtree before free agency started. To make matters worse, free agents the Ravens were interested like Tyrann Mathieu and Adrian Amos already signed with other teams. Baltimore will have to fill out needs starting on day two of free agency frenzy. The Ravens will likely pursue lower-cost, yet still effective players to fill holes. Candidates include Patriots wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and Saints running back Mark Ingram. The Ravens will also turn to the draft this April.
The Baltimore Ravens drafted Za’Darius Smith in the fourth round of the 2015 draft. He got an opportunity to play early in his rookie season as Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles in the first week of the regular season. In 2015, Smith recorded 5.5 sacks and 30 combined tackles. After Suggs returned, he took a back seat and put up more pedestrian numbers. Between 2016 and 2017, Smith recorded just 4.5 sacks and 44 combined tackles. He remerged in 2018. The year saw his best performance at the professional level yet. He totaled 8.5 sacks and 45 combined tackles. As a soon to be 27-year-old, the Packers felt that his best years are still ahead of him, and dropped a large sum of cash to snag him. Smith’s departure in Baltimore marks the continued dismantling of the league’s number one defense in 2018.
Za'Darius Smith's deal with the Packers will come in over $16M a year. No way the Ravens were going to devote $33M a year to keeping him and Mosley at this point.
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 12, 2019