For many years the Ravens protection was described in many alternative methods, none of which that have been precisely inviting to an opposing offense. Bullies. Bodily. Imposing. Intimidating. Groups knew that once they visited Baltimore, the airplane trip house wasn’t going to be all that comfy. However that hasn’t been the case for fairly a while. For the reason that departures of Messrs. Lewis, Reed, Ngata and Suggs the Ravens have been lacking dawgs. Enter Roquan Smith.
Roquan is a tackling machine. He performs quick. He’s a 3-down participant. He’s a fierce competitor who diagnoses rapidly and has the power to make the gamers round him higher. He’s a dawg. And now, he’s a Raven.
To get Roquan the Ravens gave up a 2nd-round decide and a Fifth-round decide, each in 2023. The Ravens additionally despatched lately acquired linebacker A.J. Klein to the Bears as a part of the package deal.
Smith shall be an unrestricted free agent following the 2022 season, so there’s some threat within the deal. Roquan has made it clear to the Bears that he needs a $20M+ per yr deal. Whether or not he will get that stage of pay from the Ravens or within the open market stays to be seen. However the deal works very properly for the Ravens even when Smith is nothing greater than a 9+ recreation rental.
Roquan Smith agendas are in FULL EFFECT pic.twitter.com/LdWX6ZyhZX
— Ramey (@HoodieRamey) October 31, 2022
From a strategic perspective, Roquan instantly boosts the tackling acumen for the Ravens middle-of-the-field, short-to-intermediate protection. Since his arrival within the league because the eighth general decide within the 2018 NFL Draft, Smith has usually been among the many league’s leaders in tackles. Plus, Roquan has 47 tackles-for-loss, 20 passes defended, 20 QB hits, 16 ½ sacks and seven INT’s to his credit score throughout his 69 recreation profession. Smith is a flexible piece who provides to the a number of appears that defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald can dial up.
The final two gamers with 300+ tackles and 30+ tackles for loss in a two-year span
2020-21 Roquan Smith
1999-00 Ray Lewis
And guess who leads the NFL in tackles this season too (Smith, 83) pic.twitter.com/xa7MfKsgQI
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) October 31, 2022
Maybe the most important benefactor within the Roquan Smith-to-Baltimore commerce is Patrick Queen. Over the previous month we’ve seen Queen actually settle in and play constantly properly. In 2021, we watched his stage of play escalate when Josh Bynes was inserted as Queen’s sidekick at inside linebacker. Think about the uptick Queen and the remainder of the entrance seven will notice when Bynes is changed by Smith, the 25-year-old, two-time second-team All Professional.
Some could take a look at this commerce as a back-handed slap at Queen. It’s not. The pair ought to work very properly collectively as Roquan’s presence and ability set will complement that of Queen’s and maybe free him to what he does finest. If Smith is prolonged past 2022, the tandem will take the sphere collectively in 2023 throughout Queen’s fourth season underneath his rookie contract. It can nonetheless, be fascinating to see whether or not or not the Ravens select to train Queen’s fifth-year choice if Smith indicators an extension.
If Smith checks free company and leaves, the Ravens will greater than seemingly decide up a third-round comp decide in 2024. It’s a threat price taking, notably when you think about the defensive items that shall be returning quickly, equivalent to Tyus Bowser, David Ojabo and Marcus Williams. Macdonald’s unit has the potential to be a formidable protection.
And maybe the most effective information of all for Ravens followers, notably those that nonetheless maintain out hope that GM Eric DeCosta will land one other large receiver earlier than the 4PM commerce deadline on November 1, is the minimal impression this commerce has on the Ravens wage cap – lower than $78,000.
Based mostly on the under, the web Cap implications of the Smith commerce is a lack of simply $77,778 in Cap area for the Ravens. The rest of AJ Klein’s $497,222 wage is changed by Smith’s $575K wage. It will go away the Ravens with round $3M in Cap area. https://t.co/iYGHYQKb1h
— Brian McFarland (@RavensSalaryCap) October 31, 2022
Welcome to Baltimore Roquan Smith.