Ravens could move on from DeShon Elliott after the 2021 season

Ravens, DeShon Elliott (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Ravens, DeShon Elliott (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

Baltimore Ravens‘ safety DeShon Elliott played well in 2021 after being abruptly thrust into a starting role upon the release of Earl Thomas in late August.

Elliott was given the unenviable task of taking over for Thomas despite little NFL experience to speak of. And by all accounts, he fared better than most could have expected.

However, the writing could be on the wall for the team to move on from him after the 2021 season. Especially if he takes a step back this season.

The moves the Ravens made during draft weekend this offseason seem to indicate that the team could be preparing for his inevitable departure. At the very least, they’ve provided additional insurance in case they take that route.

The Ravens could move on from DeShon Elliott after 2021

Drafted in the sixth round by the Ravens in the 2018 NFL Draft, injuries defined the first two years of Elliott’s career. A fractured forearm forced him to miss his entire rookie season while a knee injury landed him on injured reserve after just six games in 2019.

Elliott entered training camp as the presumed backup free safety behind Earl Thomas, however, that changed when Thomas was released a few weeks before the season was set to begin.

With just six career games under his belt, Elliott went on to start all 16 games in 2020 and he filled in admirably for the departed Thomas. The 24-year-old finished with a 69.6 Pro Football Focus grade that ranked 28th out of all safeties in the NFL.

Elliott was a good player last year, but the Ravens clearly felt the need to bolster the safety position in the offseason. Despite rumors connecting them to safety Trevon Moehrig, Baltimore ultimately passed on the standout TCU safety.

Instead, they drafted SMU’s Brandon Stephens in the third round with the plan to move him to free safety. On top of that, they quietly re-signed Geno Stone and later signed a different TCU safety, Ar’Darius Washington, as an undrafted free agent.

If one of those three players steps up and can prove themselves as a legitimate starting candidate by the end of the 2021 season, the Ravens won’t have as hard of a time moving on from Elliott.

The salary cap is a tricky thing to manage and with Lamar Jackson’s extension looming, the Ravens need to save all the money they can.

DeShon Elliott is a good player who exceeded expectations in 2020, but it’s certainly not a sure thing that he earns an extension from the team that drafted him.

The move to select Stephens in the third round hints at that, and even someone like Washington or Stone could provide insurance in case they do move on from Elliott.

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The writing is on the wall. DeShon Elliott might not receive a second contract from the Ravens.