On Monday, Baltimore Ravens safety Eric Weddle stated that if the Ravens do not want him back in 2019, he will retire. The former San Diego Charger moved to Baltimore in 2016 to bring a veteran presence to the secondary. The 12-year veteran enjoyed a successful three year run in Baltimore, which may have capped off with a playoff appearance. Weddle wants to return to the Ravens next year, but the decision falls to first-year general manager, Eric DeCosta. Weddle says that he will meet with DeCosta in the offseason to discuss his future in Baltimore, but if DeCosta chooses to move on, Weddle plans to retire.
Weddle’s presence in Baltimore brought stability to a chaotic secondary. The defensive backs group was in shambles after 2015, and the Ravens hoped that Weddle would be able to replace the 2013 first round draft bust, Matt Elam. Weddle not only met expectations, he exceeded them. In all three seasons played in Baltimore Weddle was selected to the Pro Bowl. He also acted as a master defensive back to the young players the Ravens brought in. Weddle’s leadership and ability on the field provided younger players a model defensive back to emulate. But after three successful years, it seems that Weddle’s time in Baltimore may be coming to an end.
Eric Weddle’s cap hit in 2019 is set to be $8.25 million, and the Ravens can save $6.5 million by releasing him. The Ravens have young, developing safeties on the team that could take the 34 year old’s job. Baltimore picked safeties Chuck Clark in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL draft, and DeShon Elliot in the sixth round of the 2018 draft. Both have great upside. Clark found his way onto the field in 2018, but Elliot sat out the year after he fractured his forearm. Clark played extensively when strong safety Tony Jefferson got injured. Clark did relatively well for a second-year safety. The transition into his third year will be critical for his development. If Weddle does not return to the Ravens in 2019, he will retire but may look to become a coach sometime in the future. Weddle is one of the most intelligent safeties in the league and a natural born leader. Don’t expect him to be out of football for long.