The Baltimore Ravens are reuniting with one of their own, bringing back linebacker Za’Darius Smith after he left for a three-year stint with the Green Bay Packers. According to Adam Schefter, Smith is set to return to Baltimore on a brand new four-year contract after parting ways with the Packers earlier in the week.
Former Packers’ pass rusher Za'Darius Smith is signing a four-year, $35 million deal that has a max value of $50 million with the Baltimore Ravens, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2022
Smith will earn $35 million throughout the course of the deal and will be a huge boost to the Ravens’ defense, which was among the worst in football last season. The deal could potentially reach as much as $50 million if Smith is able to reach certain incentives.
This is a great addition for the Ravens, who drafted Smith in 2015 in the fourth round. He became a mainstay in their defense up until leaving in free agency to join the Packers. After missing most of the 2021 season to injury, however, the Packers opted against bringing him back, as the franchise had other contracts to attend to, including that of Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams.
With Smith hitting the open market, the Ravens were quick to pounce on the seven-year veteran and bring him back for another stint in Baltimore.
During his tenure in Green Bay, Smith made two Pro Bowls, turning in monster seasons in both 2019 and 2020. In 2019, he recorded 13.5 sacks across 16 games, logging 55 tackles and a remarkable 37 QB hits. He followed that up with 12.5 sacks in 2020, but missed all but one game in 2021 with a back injury.
Baltimore will surely be hoping Smith can return to the Pro Bowl-caliber form he displayed during his first two years in Green Bay as he’ll be expected to play a key role for the Ravens’ defense.