Tony Jefferson could be a viable option for Ravens

Defensive back played in Baltimore fro 2017-19

Tony Jefferson was respectfully regarded as a "True Raven" in his three years with Baltimore.

The safety was a consummate teammate and embraced a leadership role in the locker room and around the local community.  

The Ravens made the difficult decision to release Jefferson's in February to create salary-cap space. 

Baltimore, however, could use another veteran safety after terminating the contract of Earl Thomas after he got into an altercation with fellow safety Chuck Clark. 

While DeShon Elliott is expected to start alongside Clark, Jefferson could provide valuable depth and be an insurance policy in case of an injury. 

Jefferson has reportedly received overtures from other teams, including the Cleveland Browns, but his heart remains in Baltimore. 

"I can't see myself personally playing for any team In the AFC North except for the Ravens," he told Inside Access on 105.7 with Jason LaCanfora and Ken Weinman

Jefferson even joked about the situation on social media:

Jefferson suffered a season-ending knee injury Week 5 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which opened the door for Clark to take over the starting job. Clark excelled as a starter and was rewarded with a three-year, $16 million contract extension.

The release of Jefferson saved Baltimore $7 million on the salary cap.

“This is the worst part of this business,” Ravens' general manager Eric DeCosta said. “Tony is the consummate teammate and someone who is respected by everyone for his leadership, determination, humility, and toughness. 

"He’s a friend to all and a true Raven. We know he’s going to beat this injury, and we will be cheering for him all along the way. We wish the very best to Tony and his family.” 

In three seasons as a Raven beginning in 2017, Jefferson had 174 tackles (120 solo), two interceptions, 3.5 sacks, 11 passes defended, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery in 35 games (all starts). 

A seven-year NFL veteran, Jefferson spent his first four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (2013-2016), where he originally signed as a rookie free agent. 

Prior to his Week 5 injury in 2019, Jefferson led all defensive backs in tackles for loss (30) dating back to 2015. 

While with Arizona in 2016, he led all NFL defensive backs with 13 tackles for loss, which was also the most by a defensive back in a single season since the stat began being tracked in 2008.

In 2018, Jefferson was the only Raven to finish with at least one sack, interception, pass defended, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery for the league’s top-ranked defense (292.9 yards per game). He was also just one of six NFL safeties to post at least five tackles for loss and a sack, interception, forced fumble, and fumble recovery.

Jefferson served as a strong presence in the Baltimore community, where he actively hosted charitable events for children in need and supported the endeavors of many of his teammates. In 2017, he also made a $20,000 donation to a hurricane relief fund to help benefit victims in Puerto Rico and elsewhere.

The city would welcome him back with open arms.