Big decisions loom for the Baltimore Ravens top-ranked defense
By Mike Reid
Eric Weddle and Jimmy Smith have high salary cap hits:
Eric Weddle and Jimmy Smith have been vital parts to the Ravens defensive backfield the past few years but both of them have big cap hits this upcoming season. According to Spotrac.com, Smith comes in with a team high $15.85 million cap hit, and Weddle has a $9.25 million cap hit for 2019.
Weddle, the veteran safety who is in his final year of his contract, has unquestionably lost a step in coverage. Weddle’s leadership skills and intelligence are still elite though. He is the quarterback of the defensive back group, and getting rid of him is like letting go of a coach on the field.
The Ravens do have second-year safety DeShon Elliott as a back-up plan. He showed flashes in the preseason, but missed the whole regular season on injured reserve. I really like Elliott as the successor to Weddle at safety, but throwing him into the starting lineup without any game experience would be risky.
Meanwhile, Smith has shown he can be a shutdown cornerback when healthy, but injuries have held him back quite a bit during his entire career. With the emergence of young-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey, veteran Brandon Carr still being the “iron horse” and newly re-resigned slot corner Tavon Young, the Ravens are in a position to cut loose Smith to get some cap space. However, cornerback is arguably the most important position on defense nowadays, and teams can never have enough good ones.
My Predictions: Eric Weddle stays on his same deal and plays out his last year as a Raven. Jimmy Smith restructures his contract and stays with the Ravens. The Ravens know with its injury past, they need all the cornerback depth it can get, they keep together it’s four core guys. (Humphrey, Smith, Carr, Young).