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Saints, Ravens Could Sign Chiefs Top Free Agent

Free agent offensive tackle Donovan Smith isn't the player he once was, but several teams should try to sign him in the coming weeks.
Donovan Smith Free Agent

Free agent offensive tackle Donovan Smith is perhaps the best available player at his position. After spending the first eight years of his career with Tampa Bay, the former second-round pick joined the Kansas City Chiefs on a one-year deal in 2023. Serving as the team’s primary left tackle, Smith started 12 games while helping the team win their second Super Bowl in as many seasons. However, despite the team’s success, all signs indicate he will not be back in 2024.

Smith himself had a rough season, finishing the year with a 57.8 PFF grade, the 61st-best mark out of 81 eligible players. Now with second-round pick Kinsgley Suamataia set to compete with Wanya Morris, Donovan Smith will likely sign somewhere else as a free agent. While nobody will make him an unquestioned starter, the Saints and Ravens are two of four teams that make the most sense for the veteran.

Saints, Ravens, Make Sense For Free Agent Donovan Smith

The New Orleans Saints have one of the most questionable tackle situations in football. On paper, the Saints will be fine in Ryan Ramczyk stays healthy and rookie first-round pick Taliese Fuaga hits the ground running. However, if either of those things doesn’t happen (and it’s not looking good for Ramczyk), New Orleans is in trouble. Derek Carr is one of the worst in the league against pressure, and Donovan Smith could be a crucial free agent signing for a team that desperately needs to make the playoffs.

The Ravens, meanwhile, are rebuilding their offensive line on the fly. After losing both starting guards and right tackle Morgan Moses, this team could use as much help as possible to keep Lamar Jackson upright. Second-round pick Roger Rosengarten is currently set to start, but Baltimore could use some veteran insurance in case the Washington product needs time to adjust to the NFL. Donovan Smith won’t set the world on fire, but the free agent could be a steadying presence and reliable depth option for one of the league’s best rosters.

Other Potential Fits

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers top priority in 2024 needs to be finding out what they have in first-overall pick Bryce Young. The Alabama product struggled as a rookie, but nobody could have succeeded in such an unwelcoming environment. The team spent big to solidify their interior offensive line and wide receiver position, but they could use more tackle help. Ikem Ekwonu failed to build on his promising rookie year, and Donovan Smith could be reliable free agent insurance if the left tackle continues to struggle.

New England Patriots

The fate of the New England Patriots now rests in the hands of Drake Maye. The North Carolina product has plenty of talent but won’t be able to succeed if his jersey stays dirty all year long. Whether it’s Maye or veteran Jacoby Brissett under center, the Patriots shouldn’t put all their faith in third-round pick Caedan Wallace being the immediate answer at left tackle. Donovan Smith won’t make Patriots fans forget about Bruce Armstrong, but the free agent could make life a little bit easier for New England’s quarterback duo.

Green Bay Packers

After officially parting ways with David Bakhtiari, the Green Bay Packers are betting on Rasheed Walker being the real deal. While the former seventh-round pick had a strong 2023, Green Bay doesn’t have a reliable Plan B if he takes a step back. Donovan Smith might have to settle for backup work at this point in his career, but the free agent could provide some much-needed depth for a team ahead of schedule in their rebuild.

Main Photo: Tina MacIntyre – USA Today Sports


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