UPDATE: ESPN is now reporting that S Will Hill III is facing a 10 game suspension by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Ravens' S Will Hill has been suspended 10 games for violating NFL's substance abuse policy, league sources @caplannfl and me.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2016
This explains why Baltimore released S Will Hill earlier Wednesday; this is the fourth, and longest, suspension of his NFL career. 10 games.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2016
According to multiple sources, including the Ravens website, Free Safety Will Hill III is being released today.
One initial reason, as seen in ESPN writer Jamison Hensley's tweet, is that it creates $2.84 Million in cap space.
Ravens released safety Will Hill after officially signing Eric Weddle, according to a source. It creates $2.84... https://t.co/69PlMlUHBF— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) March 16, 2016
Hill was the top graded defensive back on the Ravens team according to Pro Football Focus. This includes corners along with the safeties.
Surprisingly, this also includes newly acquired signee Eric Weddle, who was an All-Pro last season. Here are the grades:
Notice that Weddle's pass defense grade is significantly higher. His run defense suffered a low grade last season.
Interesting to note that though 8 weeks of 2015, Will Hill was our 4th highest graded safety. Weeks 9-17 he was 70th— Gordon McGuinness (@PFF_Gordon) March 16, 2016
Baltimore Ravens.com's Sarah Ellison suggested that there is a strong belief in Webb at Safety, which combined with the cap space saved, could not be overlooked.
Why cut Hill over Lewis/Webb? Ravens haven't explained. But their belief in Webb is very evident. Hill created more cap space than Lewis too— Sarah Ellison (@sgellison) March 16, 2016
With two days in a row of ecstatic news for Ravens Nation, this news brings things back to Earth. There was even a belief that Weddle/Hill could be one of the best tandems in the league.
Baltimore Beatdown will continue to update this ongoing story.