The anticipated move finally came to fruition.
On Friday, NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Baltimore Ravens are officially releasing strong safety, Tony Jefferson. This move was inevitable the moment Chuck Clark agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Baltimore Ravens. Clark took over for Tony Jefferson after the veteran safety suffered a season-ending ACL injury. Clark filled the role well and was even entrusted with the green dot (coach to player communication device).
Jefferson was signed by the Ravens in 2017. Once the former Arizona Cardinal inked his deal, many expected him to pair up with Eric Weddle as the best safety duo in the National Football League. Jefferson underwhelmed and struggled in his first year as a Baltimore Raven. Jefferson improved in 2018 but was unable to stay on the field for the entire year. Jefferson’s injury problems only got worse in 2019, and by the end of his third season in Baltimore, it became apparent that the team could no longer hold onto him.
Jefferson was entering the final year of his contract with the Ravens and was set to earn $12 million. Baltimore will save $7.49 million in cap space by cutting Tony Jefferson, a significant portion of that contract. The $7.49 million saved will account for all of Chuck Clark’s 2020 salary and more. The specific details of Clark’s new contract are trickling out, so the full structure of the deal is not yet known. However, the Ravens are set to pay Clark $2,187,704 in 2020. The Baltimore Ravens will have approximately $5.29 million extra to spend, along with a new open roster spot.
Baltimore currently has four safeties on the roster: Earl Thomas, Chuck Clark, DeShon Elliott, and Jordan Richards. Richards’ true role is on special teams – not safety, so the Baltimore Ravens will probably add at least one more safety to the roster before training camp. Whether that be in free agency or the draft, only time will tell.