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After Von Miller, Chandler Jones deals became public, Za’Darius Smith backed out of Ravens return

NFC Divisional Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 22: Outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith #55 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after a sack during the 1st quarter of the NFC Divisional Playoff game against the San Francisco 49ersat Lambeau Field on January 22, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

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Linebacker Za’Darius Smith had a four-year, $35 million deal with the Ravens, until he didn’t.

Many are still confused as to what happened between Smith and the Ravens. So we tried to figure out what transpired.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Smith and the Ravens had agreed on a contract per the basic terms (four years, $35 million), with incentives that would have pushed the total value to $50 million. Then, the player decided to back out.

This happened, coincidentally (or not), after Chandler Jones agreed to terms with the Raiders, and after Von Miller agreed to terms with the Bills.

Smith and his agent then proposed a different deal to the Ravens. The Ravens accepted the revised terms. They were then told that Smith would make a decision the next day.

The next day, Smith and his agent proposed a dramatically different deal. The Ravens passed, and that was that.

Many have assumed that Smith had something else in hand. He didn’t. He remains a free agent, with no obvious or apparent deals. And the money in free agency already is drying up.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Smith goes back to the Ravens at some point, seeking the deals away from which he walked. It also will be interesting to see whether the Ravens would put those deals back on the table.