Elliott’s case is one of the more intriguing the Ravens have to deal with this offseason. A former sixth-round pick, Elliott has developed into a valuable starting-caliber safety when healthy.
Unfortunately, that part has been challenging for the oft-injured Elliott. On top of that, his skill set is a little redundant to that of Chuck Clark and the Ravens might be looking to upgrade the safety position altogether.
Still, Elliott has his supporters within the organization, and there’s still a chance he returns. But should he?
Should the Ravens re-sign DeShon Elliott?
DeShon Elliott is a good football player. A hard-hitting, hard-nosed, competitive safety, Elliott has earned the trust and admiration of the coaching staff during his time in Baltimore.
He’s overcome heeps of adversity having missed all or more of his first two seasons in the NFL only to emerge as a surprise starter in 2020 following the unexpected departure of Earl Thomas.
Elliott proved in 2020 that he can be a starter in this league which is why the Ravens trusted him to be one this past season. Unfortunately, that season ended the same way all but one of his NFL campaigns have to this point — on the injured reserve.
Elliott has played more than six games in just one of his four seasons, and that very adversity he’s overcome is what could ultimately keep him from returning to Baltimore.
Now, the one thing working in his favor is that he likely won’t command a hefty price tag. Coming off yet another major injury, it’s hard to imagine Elliott receiving anything more than a one-year, prove-it deal.
It’s reasonable to imagine a scenario where Elliott returns on a one-year, $4 million contract (or something similar) to compete for playing time at safety. Then again, is that the best use of the Ravens’ precious cap space?
The Ravens have young safeties on the roster that they like in Brandon Stephens and Geno Stone, but they also would be wise to invest in the position this offseason.
The team seems to prefer Stephens as more of a match-up defender and Stone hasn’t proven that he can be a legitimate starting-caliber player. I’d expect the Ravens to be in the safety market whether in free agency or the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Ravens are better off rolling with the duo of Stephens and Stone and pursuing an upgrade over Elliott as opposed to bringing him back and allowing him to compete with the younger players on the roster.
If all else fails and they strike out in free agency and the draft, perhaps a post-draft reunion could still be on the table. But it’s probably best for the Ravens to spend their limited cap space elsewhere.