Finally, the Baltimore Ravens gain a player instead of losing one. On Wednesday, 48 hours since the beginning of free agency, Earl Thomas agreed to a deal in principle to land him in Baltimore. The longtime Seattle Seahawks free safety left his team in free agency and was linked to the Browns throughout most of Tuesday. However, the connection with Cleveland turned out to be nothing but fools gold. Reports started circulating on Wednesday morning that the Browns never actually offered Earl Thomas a deal, and were not interested in signing him. Speculation immediately emerged that pinned the Ravens as a possible landing spot for Thomas.
Earl Thomas was lured to Baltimore by a lucrative contract offer. The Ravens offered him a four-year deal, worth $55 million. The contract also includes $32 million in fully guaranteed money. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the deal includes $22 million in the first nine months of the contract. If true, it signals that the Ravens are making a large investment in Earl Thomas now in order to keep the salary cap open in the future. It also means that the Ravens may need to free up more salary cap space this year by cutting additional players. If they do that, my gut feeling is that Jimmy Smith, who is owed $15.8 million in 2019, would be the first to go.
Earl Thomas comes into Baltimore to replace Eric Weddle. The Ravens cut Weddle before the start of free agency to open up cap space. Thomas is arguably an upgrade from Weddle but does come with some concerns of his own. The 29-year-old will turn 30 in May and is coming off of a broken leg injury in 2018. When healthy though, Thomas is one of the most prolific free safeties in the NFL. Since being drafted by the Seahawks in the first round of the 2010 draft, Thomas has recorded 684 combined tackles and 28 interceptions.
About ten minutes after this story broke, the Ravens also signed former Saints running back, Mark Ingram.
The Baltimore #Ravens are signing safety Earl Thomas to a four year, $55 million deal which includes $32 million in guaranteed money. This is the first free agent signing the Ravens have made since the start of free agency.
— The Baltimore Feather (@bmorefeather) March 13, 2019
Former Seahawks’ S Earl Thomas intends to sign a four-year, $55 million deal that includes $32 million fully guaranteed at signing with the Baltimore Ravens, league source tells ESPN. Deal includes $22 million in first nine months.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2019