According to NFL’s Ian Rapoport, Elliott signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Lions on Wednesday in a move that could hardly be called surprising. Elliott’s injury history likely warranted only a short-term “prove-it” deal, and the Ravens aren’t happy to see him go, but they definitely aren’t sad, either.
Elliott started his 2021 campaign strong until he tore his pectoral and biceps muscles, ending his season after just six games.
In his place, 2021 third-rounder Brandon Stephens successfully transitioned into the free safety role despite playing cornerback in college, finishing his first season with a second-best 72 tackles on the team.
Make no mistake, Elliott served a valuable role during his three years in Baltimore and will perhaps always be remembered for a certain run-stuffing play:
Baltimore Ravens shed no tears over loss of safety DeShon Elliott in 2022
What’s best for both the Ravens and Elliott, however, was to part ways this free agency, and Baltimore should be pleased to see Elliott get a fresh start on a new team.
The 24-year-old’s NFL career has so far been severely marred by injuries, and he ended up playing just 28 games in Baltimore in which he recorded 109 combined tackles, eight quarterback hits, seven passes defended, and one interception.
Elliott’s inability to stay healthy ultimately made him too much of a liability in the backfield — he was one of the hardest hitters in the defense, but he often got injured doing so.
With Elliott gone, Marcus Williams is primed to take over as a true free safety, and Williams marks a significant upgrade from Elliott as a much more productive and reliable defensive playmaker. If anything, Elliott’s departure reinforces the team’s ironclad confidence in its current safety unit, one composed of Williams, Chuck Clark, Tony Jefferson, Geno Stone, and Brandon Stephens.
Besides, after finishing last in the league in passing defense in 2021, Baltimore needed a change. Even in his best games, Elliott never could elevate the Ravens in the way Williams elevated his former team, the New Orleans Saints.
Baltimore’s attention remains focused on improving the cornerback unit for 2022, especially after the young and talented Anthony Averett left in free agency.
The Ravens appreciated Elliott’s hard work and production these past three years, but the team also knew it was time to move on having already secured his elite replacement this offseason.
Elliott is one loss Baltimore can easily get over — players like Anthony Averett and Bradley Bozeman? Not so much.