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Ravens CB Jimmy Smith signs one-year contract extension worth up to $5 million

The Ravens signed cornerback Jimmy Smith to a one-year contract extension Friday, keeping a versatile contributor and the team’s longest-tenured defender in Baltimore for an 11th season.

Smith’s 2021 deal is worth up to $5 million, according to ESPN, with a $500,000 signing bonus and $2 million guaranteed in base salary. Another $2.5 million in incentives is available, making the extension a salary cap-friendly move ahead of an offseason in which teams’ spending could fall off.

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Smith returned to practice Thursday for the first time since Dec. 12, raising hopes that he can bolster the Ravens’ secondary Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals and through a potential playoff run. Over the season’s first 11 weeks, Smith, 32, graded out as the NFL’s No. 8 cornerback, according to Pro Football Focus, and had the ninth-best coverage grade. Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale said in late November that Smith was having a Pro Bowl-level season.

But rib and shoulder injuries have derailed his year somewhat, and he’s played just 34 defensive snaps since a Week 11 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Smith, a first-round pick in 2011, hasn’t played more than 12 games in a season since 2016.

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“He’s going to do whatever he can do to get on the field, first of all,” defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale said Thursday. “If he’s not on the field, that means that he’s hurt. That’s the No. 1 thing. But for a guy of his size to be able to do the things he does — to play out there on the corner, on the island outside — it’s amazing. There’s no challenge he doesn’t like.”

The Ravens re-signed Smith to a one-year, $3.5 million deal this past offseason, and he said coach John Harbaugh challenged him to come back to training camp “in the best shape of your life.” Smith worked with his trainer to lose about 15 pounds, hoping to reduce strain on his joints and tendons. He impressed with his consistency and versatility throughout the season’s first three months, defending speedy receivers as an outside cornerback and matching up with tight ends in the box.

In November, Harbaugh called Smith “one of the best corners in the league.” With starters Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters both under contract next season, and slot corner Tavon Young recovering from an ACL injury, Smith should return to one of the best cornerback rooms in the league, too.

“We’ve had a lot of years together — his whole career, ever since he came in,” Harbaugh said of Smith earlier this season. “I spend a lot of time with the secondary, anyway, and the corners a lot. So we’ve had just many conversations about football, but also about family, all the things. Jimmy, he’s been a guy who … we’ve just valued each other’s input and advice in that way. That’s a relationship that I really value very highly.”

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