Jimmy Smith practices for first time since Achilles injury

Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith participated in team drills for the first time since his Achilles injury in December, Jamison Hensley of ESPN reports.

It already was a good sign that Smith didn’t have to begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list. But he took another step Thursday after being limited to individual drills during the team’s minicamp last month.

That bodes well for his availability for the start of the regular season.

Joyner’s situation is similar. He’s making $11.287 million this year, and it would cost the Rams $13.544 million to tag him again next year. And so by standing pat, Joyner’s looking at either $11.287 million and free agency in March or almost $25 million over two years, then free agency in 2020. The one mitigating factor that does help the team here is that the safety market collapsed this offseason, and Joyner turns 28 in November, so he may well want to cash out now.

Bell’s situation is clunky. He’s already on his second tag, and assuming the Steelers wouldn’t tag him a third time (that would come at the QB number, which will likely exceed $25 million, pending some new deals), he’s set to make $14.5 million this year and hit free agency next year. Meanwhile, the NFL’s next highest paid running back is Devonta Freeman at $8.25 million. But the market could change with deals for Todd Gurley and David Johnson. Then, you have the longevity question that every back faces. Yeah, there’s a lot going on here.

So these four guys and their teams have 18 days to find a middle ground on a deal. And if they decide to hold firm and bet on themselves, you can see that as a nod to the Vikings quarterback.

We mentioned in the lead of the column that what we’re seeing with offensive football is evolution, not revolution. And I made the call on that word after I ran it by Chip Kelly over the weekend.

There’s not much happening. The supplemental draft is in a couple weeks. The deadline for franchise-tagees Le’Veon Bell, Ziggy Ansah, DeMarcus Lawrence and Lamarcus Joyner to do long-term deals is a few days after that.

We’ll be keeping an eye on the Winston situation. And, of course, the dreaded news-dump potential of the Friday before July 4.

Full disclosure: I’ll be away for that one, so I’m not dreading it too much. But I will have a July 2 MMQB, so I’ll see you all then (and for the Thursday mailbag and the Friday podcast).

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