BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum
When free agency began this offseason, general manager Ozzie Newsome and the Baltimore Ravens made their goal clear: improve their defensive secondary. At first it appeared that Lardarius Webb was not going to be a factor for the team to achieve that goal, but even NFL teams can change their mind.
Immediately the team signed safety Tony Jefferson when the free agency period began. Being the odd man out, the Ravens then waived the eight-year veteran Webb who had been with the team his entire tenure in the NFL.
But in a change of heart, just over a month following his release, Webb re-signed with the Ravens for a three-year deal, reportedly worth $10.5 million.
Drafted from by the Ravens in the third round back in 2009, the natural cornerback got moved to the team's full safety position after seven seasons at that position last year. Helping the defense rank No. 1 in the NFL in interceptions, Webb had one of his most productive seasons, stats-wise, and appeared to be adjusting to the position. In eight years, he has amassed 13 interceptions and 374 tackles for the team.
The 31-year-old also has seen time on the special teams unit, returning both kick-offs and punts. Devin Hester though took over the return duties last year.
Due to his age, and slight loss of speed, it appeared the team was comfortable letting him go back on March 10.
It would not at all be surprising if this was a move made to renegotiate Webb's contract that was expected to last at least two more seasons and take a cap-hit at $5.5 million this year. Although, normally that is a move made within a day or two of the player's release, not a month like the case for the Ravens. Fortunately for the team, he was not picked up by another team in free agency.
Since his release, the team has also brought in veteran Cowboys corner, Brandon Carr to go alongside Jimmy Smith. With a heavy defensive back roster in the 2017 NFL draft, this move all but eliminates an early round pickup at that position, but Newsome has made clear he can change his mind.