The Baltimore Ravens were not off to a great start in free agency after losing two big time free agents on the eve of the signing period officially opening.
However, that rough day has brought forth a pretty pleasant night cap for Ravens fans who will be happy to see that the team has agreed to terms with former Arizona Cardinals safety, Tony Jefferson according to ESPN.
Ravens expected to sign Cardinals S Tony Jefferson barring any last-minute negotiating snags, per @diannaESPN and me.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 9, 2017
This comes after a report from NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo which stated that while the Ravens were in the running for the 25 year old, that the Cleveland Browns were considered the favorites in the race. According to Ian Rapaport, the Browns were very much prepared to make Jefferson the highest paid safety on the market, but he instead chose to take less to suit up for the Ravens in 2017:
The #Ravens are expected to sign safety Tony Jefferson, who leaves more money on the table from the #Browns, source said.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 9, 2017
This is a great announcement for a team that had seen its fair share of departures over the past 48 hours, and certainly puts the release of players such as Elvis Dumervil and Shareece Wright into context.
In addition, the signing likely spells the end for Lardarius Webb in Baltimore. The 31 year old safety is set to have a cap hit of $7.5 million in 2017, a number the Ravens cannot afford. With the younger and more promising Jefferson in the building, Webb becomes expendable.
The signing of Jefferson to pair with Eric Weddle will form one of the better safety duos in the NFL.
With Tony Jefferson expected to land in Baltimore, the Ravens could field a pair of top-5 safeties (by 2016 grade).https://t.co/XCZQsCgTmP pic.twitter.com/oPY59CWUSU— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) March 9, 2017
In addition, bringing Jefferson to Baltimore eliminates the need for the Ravens to take a safety in the draft.
As more details surrounding the deal make themselves known, continue following Baltimore Beatdown to stay up on them.
Update (9:53 p.m. 3/8/17): According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, Eric Weddle was a key in bringing Jefferson to Baltimore.
Credit Eric Weddle w/ the assist on Tony Jefferson's (almost final) decision to sign w/ Ravens. Former Charger recruited the SD native.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 9, 2017