For years the Baltimore Ravens have had standout safety play. With the news of Earl Thomas getting released, what is next for the position?
Over the last two decades, the Baltimore Ravens have been a premier defensive football team. From Ed Reed to Rod Woodson to Eric Weddle and most recently Earl Thomas, the team has had ball-hawks roaming the back third of the defense. Guys like Dawan Landry, Bernard Pollard, and now Chuck Clark are in the box, do-it-all types who have emerged in different ways.
When Earl Thomas signed with the Ravens before the 2019 season, expectations were that he would be the next ball-hawking safety working the back third. He was coming off a 2018 season in which he only played in four games and was coming off an injury. Going into his age 30 season expectations were high when he signed a four-year, $55 million contract. For the Ravens, his statistical output was below expectations, but he was named to the Pro Bowl for his seventh appearance.
Going into 2020 expectations were high for Earl Thomas, with his partner in the secondary (also who he threw a punch at) Chuck Clark signing an extension for three years, the hope was that they would be together for the next three seasons until each of their contracts expire. Now, with the news of the fight breaking out and the team’s veteran leadership wanting the team to move on, the situation has changed. The financials are something to be looked at, but either way, the Ravens are looking to move forward.
Last season, we saw a brotherhood form from afar and saw how a generational talent in Lamar Jackson can change a franchise’s fortunes. To keep this intact, it is smart to get rid of Earl Thomas as Clark has become the face of the defense. With Clark wearing the green dot helmet and sorting out alignments, he can take the communication role that was expected to get passed from Weddle to Thomas. Moving forward the Ravens must sort out their options at safety.