On the same day that the Ravens retained two of their own free agents by re-signing receiver Marlon Brown and linebacker Chris Carter, veteran linebacker Daryl Smith found a new home.
Released by Baltimore earlier this month, Smith agreed to a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, according to multiple reports. General manager Ozzie Newsome had left the door open for Smith to possibly return after giving him the opportunity “to see his market value” via free agency.
Smith will return to the state of Florida where he spent the first nine years of his NFL career as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Entering the offseason as a restricted free agent, Brown was not tendered a contract last week, but the Ravens have a history of re-signing some of their restricted free agents to cheaper deals than the tender amount.
The 6-foot-5 Brown once appeared to be the Ravens’ next great undrafted find after he caught 49 passes for 524 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie in 2013, but his production has declined rapidly in the last two years. In 2015, a back injury limited the University of Georgia product to 10 games in which he made just 14 receptions for 112 yards.
Brown will return under a vastly different climate at the wide receiver position from the last few years when he was projected to be an important part of the passing game. With Steve Smith, Kamar Aiken, Mike Wallace, and Breshad Perriman ahead of him on the depth chart, Brown will compete with the likes of Michael Campanaro, Jeremy Butler, Daniel Brown, and Chris Matthews for a roster spot.
Even if the 24-year-old has been a disappointment over the last two years, his familiarity with the system alone brings some value to the 90-man offseason roster for spring and summer practices. That being said, he will have much to prove in the preseason to stick with the Ravens for a fourth season.
Carter, 26, joined the Ravens late in the 2015 season and appeared in two games without recording any statistics. The 6-foot-1, 240-pound linebacker is entering his sixth season and has spent time with Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati, serving primarily as a backup and special-teams player.
In 48 career games, Carter has made 29 tackles and one pass breakup.