Matt Elam forewent the use of an Agent to sign his first NFL contract. It saved him a bit of money, and probably took longer than people expected, but in the end Elam agreed to a preliminary deal worth $6.767 million, and includes a $3.301 million signing bonus. The deal is going to be for 4 years with a 5th year tacked on for a team option. Elam is expected to sign his contract when he arrives to training camp on July 21st. This means that he does not have to miss any important training camp time due to not having a contract tendered.
Despite not having a contract at all this off-season, Elam showed up to all of the Ravens mini-camps and really impressed while he was there. He showed great speed and ball awareness, and even managed to get the better of Joe Flacco a couple of times. Reports are saying that he has a good nose for the football and is constantly around the pile. If he is managing that kind of performance while in the midst of a contract negotiation, I imagine that during regular training camps and beyond he should improve even more without the distraction.
Elam is also in the middle of a fierce secondary competition between himself, Michael Huff, and James Ihedigbo. Two of these three guys will fill the safety spots for the Ravens and all have the skills to play either position. Elam has a very good chance of earning himself a starting spot right out of the gate. His secondary Teryl Austin coach loves him saying that ”Matt Elam is what we expected and maybe a little bit more,” and NFL.com writer Chris Wessling has called Matt Elam the most important rookie in the AFC North. There is a ton of pressure on Matt Elam to meet expectations and take over for Ed Reed. Now that he has his contract taken away he takes one more step toward the start of the NFL Season.