Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb agreed to a five-year, $50 million extension with a $10 million signing bonus, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Webb is now signed through the 2017 season.
This move not only takes away the possibility of Webb signing elsewhere as a restricted free agent this month but it secures a bright and strong future for the Ravens at cornerback.
Webb and Jimmy Smith, the team's first-round pick from a year ago, will be a formidable pair for years to come for AFC North rivals Ben Roethlisberger and Andy Dalton. It wouldn't be surprising if Webb and Smith developed into the league's best cornerback tandem by the end of the 2012 season.
In his first full season as a starter, Webb was the fourth-highest graded cornerback and the second-highest rated one in coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. He didn't allow a touchdown last season, and quarterbacks had a rating of 55.6 when throwing at him, according to the site.
Webb, 26, led the AFC North with 20 passes defensed and five interceptions in the regular season. He picked off three more passes in the playoffs.
Smith, 23, had some rough moments as a rookie, especially when he gave up a 28-yard touchdown to San Diego's Malcom Floyd, but he stepped up his play in the postseason. Smith also has the size and speed to become a shutdown corner.
The emergence of Webb and Smith helped the Ravens finish fourth in pass defense last season. Baltimore led the NFL with 11 touchdown passes allowed, four fewer than any other team in the league.
Baltimore, though, has some decisions to make about its secondary for next season when No. 3 cornerback Cary Williams and both starting safeties (Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard) are unrestricted free agents. The Ravens are currently in talks with Williams, who is a restricted free agent.