The NFL offseason is often dominated not by what is happening on the gridiron but what is happening in front offices across the league as negotiations for new contracts are hashed out.
And, whilst some franchises (we're looking at you Dallas Cowboys and Dez Bryant) struggle to secure key players on new long-term deals at this stage, the Baltimore Ravens have just made life a little easier ahead of the 2015 NFL season.
Making a decisive breakthrough today, Baltimore were able to confirm a new deal for a player who could prove to be a difference maker for years to come.
As reported by NFL Insider, Adam Schefter, the Ravens have come to an agreement with cornerback Jimmy Smith over a new contract.
The move means Ravens fans, and the player himself, will be free from distraction for the entirety of the upcoming season - his future status now sealed.
After emerging as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL before going down with an injury mid-way through 2014, Smith's extension was viewed by Baltimore as one of the main objectives this offseason.
He is the Ravens' number one CB and now looks to have that position locked up for years to come.
According to Ian Rapoport that is at least four years to be exact, with Jimmy Smith believed to be earning $48 million ($21m guaranteed) in the process.
This compared to the $6.898 million he was set to earn on the final year of his rookie deal.
The Baltimore Ravens' defense, with Jimmy Smith locked down until 2019 barring any last minute hiccups, is beginning to look like it could turn into something pretty special in the future.
Alongside Smith, young stars such as C.J. Mosley and Timmy Jernigan mean teams coming up against Baltimore will now have to work doubly hard to try and outscore an offense led by the impressive Joe Flacco.
Ravens fans: Just how important is this deal and will your team challenge for the Super Bowl in 2015? Debate this issues in the comments section below...
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