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Eric Weddle’s release adds to deep market of safeties

Eric Weddle says the Ravens are moving on from him after three seasons in Baltimore, and the veteran safety enters a crowded free agent market that could hurt his next deal.

One of the storylines of free agency in 2018 was how long it took for many of the starter-level safeties on the market to find homes ahead of the regular season.

It is unlikely that will be the case again this season. If nothing else, the high number of teams that need safeties should help push players at the position to the forefront once free agency opens next week.

The Ravens’ decision to release Eric Weddle on Tuesday added another big name to a pool that was not short on them. Weddle was added to our list of the top 100 free agents at No. 41 in the wake of Tuesday’s transaction and that means 12 safeties are now on that list.

Five of those players -- Landon Collins, Earl Thomas, Tyrann Mathieu, Adrian Amos and Lamarcus Joyner -- are among the first 17 names on the list. Weddle, Clayton Geathers, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Glover Quin, Kenny Vaccaro, George Iloka and Tre Boston are the others in the top 100.

Experienced players like Johnathan Cyprien, Adrian Phillips, Jimmie Ward, Kendrick Lewis, Kurt Coleman, Marcus Gilchrist, Chris Conte, Reggie Nelson and Mike Adams are also available, so there are options at various levels for teams to consider for their secondaries.

In addition to long waits, many of the safeties on the market last year found smaller contracts than they would have liked. Eric Reid was in that group, but opted out of another trip to the market by signing an extension with the Panthers that could look even better once the dust settles for everyone else.

One would expect the players in the top group this year to fare better when it comes to the size of the contracts they’ll land next week and beyond, but the sheer number of players may lead to some bargains as teams can move on to others if the price isn’t right with their first option.