According to Jeff Zrebiec, Baltimore Ravens insider, and writer for The Atlantic, the Ravens are preparing for cornerback Jimmy Smith to be suspended by the NFL. According to Zrebiec, sources from within the Ravens organization expressed their concern about a multi-week suspension for Smith. The league will hand down the suspension, as the NFL claims Smith violated the league’s personal conduct policy. The news broke shortly before the Ravens faced the Colts in last night’s preseason game in Indianapolis. Smith was notably absent from that game, and when asked why Smith was not present, coach John Harbaugh said he was dealing with a personal issue. Smith is expected to appeal the suspension.
For much of his career, Jimmy Smith has been unreliable for the Baltimore Ravens. He was drafted in 2011, but his development was slow. While Smith was unable to capture his full potential, he also dealt with a plethora of injuries throughout his career. At this point, Ravens have become accustomed to playing without Smith. The suspension is not his first either. The defensive back was suspended last year for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. Smith later claimed that the violation was in reference to a pre-workout supplement, that the NFL added to the list of banned substances, without his knowledge.
The incoming suspension cites the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Smith has a history of domestic issues, however, the claims are unverifiable. Last year, Smith’s former girlfriend claimed he had “a history of being physically violent” and a “history of substance abuse and illicit drug usage” in court documents dealing with the custody of their child. The claims were merely that, claims, and nothing came from them. However, one cannot help but think this suspension could have something to do with that. Smith is set to earn over $15 million this year, and almost $16 million next year. The former first-round pick will become a free agent after the 2019 season.
The Baltimore Ravens are prepared for this moment. Last year, the team selected Marlon Humphrey in the first round of the draft, and he quickly developed into a capable defensive back. The Ravens have extreme depth at the position, with Brandon Carr, Tavon Young, Anthony Averett, and Maurice Canady. Baltimore also has roster bubble options, such as Stanley Jean-Baptiste, who could be a viable option to provide more depth at the position. The Ravens also explored the possibility of adding another free agent cornerback. The team hosted Brashaud Breeland last month on a visit.
As the details slowly leak out, the Ravens will have to decide what action to take with Smith. Cutting him is not out of the picture, but unlikely. It would take a career damning revelation to force him out of Baltimore. The Ravens could also decide to hold on to Smith and reevaluate the situation before his free agency in 2020. It is currently impossible to correctly speculate Baltimore’s next move, as there is simply not enough information available. When more comes out on the unfolding situation, there will be a clearer picture on what the Ravens will likely do. Until then, Smith and Baltimore will wait until the suspension is handed down.