The Baltimore Ravens signed free safety Eric Weddle to a four-year contract worth $26 million. The deal includes a $7 million signing bonus and guarantees Weddle $13 million. His average annual salary is $6.5 million.
Typically, Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome does not award free agents this kind of money. The Ravens had to find a way to be more disciplined on the back end. They gave up far too many big plays to opposing offenses.
Weddle is one of the best safeties in the NFL. He rarely gets beaten deep because he is very disciplined. Unlike last year’s starter Will Hill, Weddle won’t be fooled by combination routes designed to get receivers open down the field.
The Ravens have lacked a true ball hawk at safety for years. The days of Ed Reed roaming the secondary were replaced by a series of failed low priced free agent safeties.
The defense struggled to create turnovers. Weddle has 19 career interceptions and 71 pass break ups. It is pretty clear that he knows how to find the football.
Expect the Ravens to register more sacks and interceptions in 2016. Their defense will be much better. It won’t take long for Weddle to get settled in at Owings Mills.
The Ravens locker room is very accepting of veteran players. Head Coach John Harbaugh welcomes veterans to be leaders on the team especially ones like Weddle who let their work ethic speak for itself.
Weddle and Steve Smith Sr. are good friends as well. In fact, it was Weddle who tried to get Smith to come to San Diego when he was a free agent.
Smith has become a fan favorite after only two seasons in Baltimore. Weddle has a good chance to do the same.