Even With Deep Talent Pool, Ravens Need to Consider Backend of the Defense
The Ravens' secondary should be among the best in the NFL this upcoming season.
Baltimore has depth and talent at each position.
The cornerbacks are set with Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith and the expected return of Tavon Young. Earl Thomas and Chuck Clark are a formidable duo at safety.
However, the team needs to look at the long-term outlook for this unit.
GM Eric DeCosta already signed Peters, 26, to a three-year, $42 million extension. He made an immediate impact after being acquired from the Rams at the midway through last season.
The next order of business is inking Humphrey to an extension. However, he has established himself as one of the top cornerbacks in the league and could be looking for a new deal that pays him $17 annually. Humphrey, who will turn 24 in July, will be closely watching the the contract fellow cornerback Jalen Ramsey can secure in the open market or with an extension with the Rams.
The Ravens re-signed the veteran Smith to a one-year deal worth up to $6 million this offseason. DeCosta might look to add depth in the 2020 NFL Draft.
At safety, Clark agreed to a three-year contract extension in February worth $15.3 million in new money with $10 million fully guaranteed.. Clark took over the starting job when Tony Jefferson went down with a season-ending knee injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 6.
Clark came up huge and finished with career highs in tackles (68), adding one sack, one interception, nine passes defensed and two forced fumbles while starting a career-high 12 games. Playing in all 16 games, he helped the Ravens' defense rank third in points (17.6) and fourth in yards (300.6) allowed per game.
“Chuck is a great story about hard work, patience, preparation and passion,” DeCosta said. “He waited for his chance and seized the opportunity. Chuck’s a good football player, a fine teammate and respected leader. He’s the type of player we want on our defense for a long time. Congrats to Chuck and his family.”
Thomas signed a massive four-year, $55 million contract last year and he made a huge impact, earning Pro-Bowl honors. Thomas, however, will turn 31 in May and DeCosta needs to think about an heir.
The Ravens do have DeShon Elliott, but he's been hampered with injuries,
DeCosta has other pressing needs this offseason, but look for him to start making some deals to keep the secondary strong over the long-term. He could perhaps also find that player in the draft over the next two years.