Just one day after the Ravens 23-17 playoff loss to the Chargers, veteran safety Eric Weddle made his future intentions fairly clear when speaking to reporters on locker room cleanout day. Weddle expressed little desire to play anywhere other than Baltimore.
“If they want to go in a different direction, I’m not going to play for another team,” said Weddle. “It’s either play my last year here in Baltimore … or this has been it. It’s pretty simple.”
However, at Pro Bowl practice on Wednesday in Orlando, Florida, Weddle struck a different tone on the subject and seemed more open-minded on his future playing days.
Safety Eric Weddle discussed his future today, and whether he plans to continue playing in 2019. pic.twitter.com/pdNAy6SIC7— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 23, 2019
Weddle clearly still desires a return to the Ravens next season. However, he left the door open for a change of scenery next season should Baltimore decide to move on from the 12-year veteran.
“We’ll see if there’s something to be worked out,” said Weddle. “If not, we both move on … we’ll see if I’ll play elsewhere next season or hang’ em up.”
Weddle clearly recognizes that his future in Baltimore is up in the air. While he’s been a valuable presence on the Ravens defense and has made the Pro Bowl in each of his three seasons in Baltimore, it’s fair to question how much he has left in the tank.
No longer the rangy, athletic force he was in his prime, Weddle has begun to show signs of decline. This past season, and even the season prior, Weddle often struggled to make plays on the ball and contain defenders in space.
After recording a combined 10 interceptions and three forced fumbles in his first two seasons in Baltimore, Weddle did not record a turnover this past season. He did, however, finished the year with 68 combined tackles, four quarterback hits, and a sack.
Weddle still provides invaluable leadership and veteran experience in the backend of the defense and is good at reading opposing offenses. It remains to be seen how much the Ravens value this, though, as they could opt for a younger option at the safety position.
Weddle is entering the last year of his contract and is owed a base salary of $6.5 million dollars next season. If the Ravens desire to keep Weddle around for another year, it’s possible they would look to restructure his contract in an effort to create cap space.
It would be strange to see Weddle in a different uniform next season, but that scenario appears to be increasingly possible. Nevertheless, Eric DeCosta has a difficult decision to make, and the fate of Weddle’s future in Baltimore will likely be decided in the coming months.