The Baltimore Ravens are making sure Roquan Smith will be a part of their defense for a long time. Per NFL Network, Smith and the Ravens agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract extension that will make him the highest-paid linebacker in NFL history.
Smith will become the first off-ball linebacker to make $20 million per season. The deal includes $45 million fully guaranteed and $60 million in total guarantees. Smith, who represents himself, was set to be a free agent this offseason.
Signing Smith was a no-brainer for the Ravens, who made an instant impact in the Ravens defense since Baltimore acquired him prior to the trade deadline. Smith finished with 169 tackles, 4.5 sacks, three interceptions, and six passes defended with the Ravens and Chicago Bears this season. Smith and Patrick Willis are the only players to have 150-plus tackles, four-plus sacks and three-plus interceptions in a season.
The Ravens acquired Smith at the trade deadline, sending to the Bears a 2023 second-round pick, 2023 fifth-round pick and linebacker A.J. Klein. Smith had 86 tackles, two sacks, three passes defended and an interception in nine games with Baltimore -- transforming the defense into one of the elite units in the NFL.
Baltimore allowed just 14.7 points per game since Smith arrived, second in the NFL. The Ravens allowed just 288.8 yards per game and 3.5 yards per carry -- a huge decrease from 364.4 yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry prior to Smith's arrival.
Smith passed Shaquille Leonard as the highest-paid linebacker in the game (in terms of average annual value), making $20 million per season to Leonard's $19.7 million. Smith, Leonard, and T.J. Watt are the only NFL defenders to produce at least 15 sacks and five interceptions over the last five seasons.