Smith signs with Ravens, Pace completes visit

OWINGS MILLS -- The Baltimore Ravens officially signed former Philadelphia Eagles tight end L.J. Smith to a one-year, $1.5 million contract Friday, a transaction that makes him the first player to join the Ravens from coach John Harbaugh's old team since he was hired last year.

Smith, 28, finalized his contract after completing a physical and visit at the Ravens' training complex. He had previously visited the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons.

"We are very pleased to add such a talented and experienced tight end," Harbaugh said in a statement. "Obviously, I had the opportunity to be around L.J. for a number of years in Philadelphia, and there is a comfort level that we have with each other. I know that he is a good fit as a Raven and will be a great addition to our team."

In Baltimore, Smith is expected to provide insurance for and combine with Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap. The Ravens also have blocking tight end Quinn Sypniewski and converted linebacker Edgar Jones on the roster.

In six NFL seasons and 65 career starts, the 6-foot-3, 258-pound former Rutgers standout has caught 231 career passes for 2,525 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Last season in a dozen starts, Smith caught 37 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. He was hampered for a few games with a shoulder problem.

In 2007, Smith was limited to nine starts. He caught 22 passes for 236 yards and one touchdown. In 2006, he registered 50 receptions for 611 yards and five touchdowns. In 2005, he caught a career-high 61 passes for 682 yards and three touchdowns.

Meanwhile, no deal was immediately reached for free agent offensive tackle Orlando Pace. It's believed the Ravens still have a strong chance to eventually sign the seven-time Pro Bowl selection who visited with team officials Thursday.

A left tackle during his dozen seasons with the St. Louis Rams, Pace would play right tackle for the Ravens. If he's signed, Pace's arrival would probably lead to the release of veteran offensive tackle Willie Anderson.

Anderson was signed to a three-year, $11 million contract last year. He's due a $3.5 million base salary next season.

NOTE: University of Florida speedy wide receiver Percy Harvin is scheduled for a private workout with the Ravens.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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