It's Ravens or bust for safety Eric Weddle.
With one year remaining on his contract and set to make $6.5 million, the Ravens could cut him in the offseason and free up $7.5 million in cap space. If the organization decides to go that route, Weddle is planning to call it a career.
“If they want to go in a different direction, I’m not going to play for another team," Weddle said Monday. "That’s not where I’m at in my career. It’s either play my last year here, and that’ll be it and enjoy it, or this has been it. It’s pretty simple. I’m a simple kind of guy.”
A second-round pick in 2007 by the then San Diego Chargers, Weddle spent his first nine seasons with the organization before a bad breakup sent him into free agency and eventually with the Ravens on a four-year, $26 million deal.
In three seasons, the 34-year-old has 220 combined tackles, 69 assist, 24 passes defended and 10 interceptions. In 2018, Weddle finished third in tackles (68) and earned his third straight Pro Bowl with the Ravens while helping lead the leagues top-ranked defense.
“It definitely would be a big loss," cornerback Marlon Humphrey said on the possibility of being without Weddle next season. "But, he’s not just a player. I think I’ve said before, he’s like having another coach back there. Losing a leader like that and a guy that can really lead a secondary without even really having to say anything, just doing his job, would definitely be a big loss.”
Weddle has undoubtedly been a big piece in the Ravens' defense puzzle, one that could look very different in 2019 with Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley, Brent Urban and Za'Darius Smith all becoming unrestricted free agents.
"I’m going to go speak to Eric [DeCosta] and see what he sees with myself and the team," Weddle added. "If he wants me back, I’m here. If not, then it’s all good. I understand it, and I’ll just ride off into the sunset. I’m good. I still have a desire to play, and I feel that I can still affect the game in dominant games. But either way, I’m good with whatever."
If the Ravens do move on from the veteran, they still have Tony Jefferson, Anthony Levine Sr., Chuck Clark and rookie DeShon Elliott at their disposal. A free agent veteran with the same type of leadership skills could also be an option for the team.
After potentially playing his final game in a 23-17 Wild Card loss to his former team Sunday, the veteran reflected on what's been the happiest span of his career.
"It’s a special, special place to play football," Weddle said on his time in Baltimore.
"It’s the happiest I’ve ever been in my career, coming to work every day for this organization, so to be able to put on this jersey and represent this organization and the city that welcomed me with open arms three years ago has always been on my mind to try and make them proud. I always felt I was meant to be a Raven, and hopefully the people understand that I tried to live that out, for sure.”
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