The Ravens have officially traded safety Chuck Clark to the New York Jets.
The deal became official on the first day of the new league year. Per the Jets, the Ravens will get a 2024 seventh-round pick.
Clark, 27, was set to enter the final year of his contract. According to reports, trading Clark saves the Ravens $4.14 million in cap space.
Clark has been the Ravens' starting safety for the past four seasons and is a highly respected player on and off the field. He has been in charge of relaying the Ravens' defensive play calls for years as a knowledgeable and steady player.
A Ravens sixth-round pick in 2017, Clark will go down as one of the team's best late-round selections. He worked his way up the depth chart and became a starter early in the 2019 season after Tony Jefferson suffered a season-ending knee injury. Clark took off from there, showing his smarts, toughness, durability and more.
Clark hasn't missed a start since and has only missed one game during his six seasons. He had the second-most tackles on the team last season with a career-high 101. In six seasons, Clark has amassed 384 tackles, 3.5 sacks, five interceptions and five forced fumbles.
The Ravens drafted safety Kyle Hamilton in the first round last year, which put Clark's long-term prospects with the team in question. Baltimore had already signed Marcus Williams in free agency to be their free safety.
Clark requested to be traded last offseason, but a deal didn't materialize and the two sides remained together for another strong year, often deploying three safeties. Clark said it was tough at the beginning of the year to get over that mental hurdle, but he proved too valuable to take off the field. He played every single defensive snap last season – his third year in a row doing so.
"Honestly, I proved to myself that I know I'm still a baller – unshaken, unphased," said Clark, who was also named the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year.
Hamilton will be in line to become a full-time starter next season after a highly successful rookie campaign in which he earned the top grade among all NFL safeties from Pro Football Focus. Hamilton did so while playing in a non-traditional safety role, as he was primarily deployed as a big slot cornerback.
Asked at the Combine about what role he envisions for Hamilton moving forward, Head Coach John Harbaugh said "safety with the ability to play nickel and dime."
"We have moving parts. We're not going to be a defense that's static," Harbaugh said. "Our guys are going to be playing different positions. We're going to disguise, we're going to blitz. [Hamilton is] capable of doing pretty much everything. He covers tight ends really well, he even covered slot receivers well this year in man coverage. That's pretty unique for a 'safety.' I just think it gives us great flexibility, it leaves room for a third and even a fourth safety in the mix."
Harbaugh also mentioned Brandon Stephens as another versatile player that could see more action in a hybrid role moving forward. Geno Stone, who is currently a restricted free agent, is another player who could see more snaps if he returns.