Ravens inside linebacker Roquan Smith doesn’t prefer to brag. Even after signing a five-year contract extension reportedly price $100 million, Smith didn’t need to draw an excessive amount of consideration to himself.
When he stood alongside fellow inside linebacker Patrick Queen in a gathering room after finishing the deal Tuesday, the previous Georgia standout didn’t inform his teammate that he was staying in Baltimore for the lengthy haul. For Smith, it was only a regular day.
“[Smith] didn’t say anything,” Queen stated. “We got here out of the defensive assembly room and walked into the linebacker room and he simply put his baggage down and walked into the hallway. Everybody was like ‘Did you sign?’ And he was like ‘Yeah.’
“You wouldn’t expect anybody to go around [bragging], but everyone is extremely happy for him.”
When Smith was traded from the Chicago Bears in late October, he knew that he wished to be in Baltimore long run. He credit his teammates and coaches for making him really feel at house.
“When you feel like that, it’s like, ‘Man, I want to be here for the long haul and make a positive impact,’” he stated.
The 25-year-old Smith grew to become the highest-paid off-ball linebacker in NFL historical past with out the assistance of an agent, however the thought hasn’t sunk in but. “It’s crazy just knowing where I grew up in Marshallville, Georgia, [with a] population [of] 1,100 right now,” he stated.
Securing monetary stability has been a tough course of for Smith, who brazenly requested a commerce from Chicago in August after contract talks broke down with the crew’s new entrance workplace. While Smith stated earlier than the season that the Bears “refused to negotiate in good faith,” he praised government vice chairman and basic supervisor Eric DeCosta for being honest and sincere all through their discussions. The two started contract negotiations in mid-December, having sit-down conversations throughout days off and exchanging emails.
The fifth-year professional stated the deal reaffirmed his perception in negotiating with out an agent — one thing star quarterback Lamar Jackson can be doing as he seeks a long-term deal.
“Everyone has their opinions about how they think things should be run,” Smith stated. “I think, nowadays, players want to be at the table for 100% transparency, and I think if you’ll be there and you have respect for the guy you’re talking with and you have help from your advisors and things like that, there aren’t things you can’t do.”
Smith contemplated the thought of coming into free company this offseason, however he thought Baltimore gave him the most effective probability to compete for a championship on a yearly foundation.
“I maybe could have gotten more [money somewhere else], but I’m happy where I’m at,” Smith stated. “I knew this place was a place where I could [compete] year in and year out. So, I wasn’t really worried about free agency. I was just more focused on getting a deal done here because I love it here so far.”
Smith’s impression has been invaluable, a lot in order that he was named the crew’s Most Valuable Player by native media on Wednesday after enjoying in simply 9 video games. The first-time Pro Bowl choice has made performs all around the discipline, totaling 169 whole tackles, 4 1/2 sacks and three interceptions.
Simply put, Smith has reworked the Ravens’ protection, because it went from being ranked fifteenth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA to 3rd since Smith paired up with Queen in the course of the sector.
“He’s even better than we thought,” coach John Harbaugh stated. “I think the impact he’s had on the whole defense — including his sidekick Pat Queen — those two guys together really hit it off and do a nice job together.”
Smith’s management hasn’t gone unnoticed. Rookie security Kyle Hamilton stated Smith has supplied power on the sector whereas holding everybody to the identical normal. “I think he’s made everybody better,” he stated.
“You look at what the defensive guys say about him, and he’s just been a joy,” tight finish Mark Andrews stated. “He’s been a joy to have in the locker room. [He’s] an extremely good guy. Like everyone says, he communicates very well. He’s a guy who brings the team together, so I always love what he has to say, [and] I always listen. I really respect him as a teammate and a friend.”