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Earl Thomas to sign with the Ravens

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Seattle Seahawks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A rough opening to NFL free agency just got a bit better for the Baltimore Ravens:

Fans and media alike were beginning to wonder just what the plan was for Baltimore and now it looks like a piece has fallen into place. Thomas was actually speculated to be a target of division rival Cleveland who have had quite the 24 hour period, but it now looks like he’ll end up in Baltimore after the signing was announced seemingly out of thin air.

A four year 55 million dollar deal breaks out to about 13.75 million dollars, though with 32 million in guarantees being floated, it’s fair to wonder just how much is actually being agreed to here. The rest of the deal is sure to come out soon, but for now, Eric DeCosta’s first big signing will soon become official.

Thomas has been highly regarded as the best free safety in the NFL for years. With the Seattle Seahawks, Thomas was the main cog in a system to allow all other parts to work. His range allowed Richard Sherman to play such aggressive press coverage. It allowed for Kam Chancellor to focus on run defense and lighting up tight ends. His play strongly delivered them a Super Bowl against the best offense in NFL history.

Throughout his nine-year career, Thomas has produced 28 interceptions, 67 passes defended and 11 forced fumbles and scored three defensive touchdowns. He’s not only a coverage safety with range, he’s a playmaking takeaway machine.

With the loss of Eric Weddle, many presumed the Ravens would struggle along the back-end not for the loss of play, but the lack of veteran leadership and football IQ. This signing returns all of the losses and adds in the range and play from a dominant safety.