Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the status of newly signed offensive tackle Austin Howard continued to be the same. (Kevin Richardson / Baltimore Sun video)

Needing some salary cap flexibility after signing offensive tackle Austin Howard to a three-year, $15.025 million deal last week, the Ravens have restructured the contract of veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith for the second year in a row.

According to NFLPA records, Smith's base salary for 2017 went from $8.5 million to $775,000. The $7.7 million difference was converted into a signing bonus. The move, which inflates Smith's salary cap number even more over the final two years of his deal, immediately creates $5.15 million of cap space for the Ravens.

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Before the restructure, the Ravens had the least amount of salary cap space in the league, per the NFLPA's salary cap report. The agreement with Smith leaves them with about $10 million of space, according to the NFLPA.

The Ravens needed more salary cap room to potentially add to their roster later this summer or just to maintain the flexibility to make roster moves during the season.

Restructuring contracts is always the last resort for the Ravens because it adds money onto future salary caps. In Smith's case, an additional $2.575 million was added to his cap number in 2018 and 2019, leaving him with cap charges of $15.675 million and $16.175 million over the final two years of his deal.

ESPN first reported Smith's restructure.

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