The release of veteran safety Eric Weddle has left an opening in Baltimore’s secondary, and there’s a rich free-agent market to explore for solutions.
Baltimore could turn to third-year safety Chuck Clark or sophomore DeShon Elliott, who have both shown promise in limited action in their young careers. Clark has been a special teams ace and strong reserve who notched an interception in two starts this season. Elliott flashed in practice before fracturing his forearm in the preseason.
But the Ravens could also put a significant investment into its secondary, similar to what they did two years ago when signing top safety Tony Jefferson.
Here’s a snapshot look at the prospective free agents set to hit the market:
Landon Collins, New York Giants
Unrestricted; 25 years old; 6-foot-0, 222 pounds
Collins is a physical safety who is considered one of the best in the game at his position. The Alabama product has gone to three Pro Bowls in his four seasons. He’s averaged more than 100 tackles per year and hauled in eight interceptions (none last season). Collins is regarded as more of a strong safety because of the way he crashes the line of scrimmage but can also play the centerfielder role.
Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks
Unrestricted; 30 years old; 5-foot-10, 202 pounds
Thomas is more of a true free safety, as his 28 career interceptions attests to. He had three picks in four games played last season before breaking his leg. Thomas is a 2010 first-round pick, six-time Pro Bowler and one-time Super Bowl champion. He’s been a key part of Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” for the past nine seasons.
Tyrann Mathieu, Houston Texans
Unrestricted, 27 years old, 5-foot-9, 185 pounds
The “Honey Badger” has always been known for his playmaking ways. He’s recorded more than two interceptions in a season just once (2015), however. After starring in Arizona for five years, he signed a one-year agreement with Houston last offseason and continued to show his dynamic style of play. Knee and shoulder injuries derailed back-to-back seasons for Mathieu, but he played in all 16 games each of the past two years.
LaMarcus Joyner, Los Angeles Rams Unrestricted; 28 years old; 5-foot-8, 191 pounds
Joyner played last season on the franchise tag, but the Rams didn’t put it on him a second time. He was a full-time starter for a second straight season and recorded 78 tackles and one interception. Built smaller than the other top-tier safeties but with exceptional range, Joyner is strong in coverage.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Washington Redskins
Unrestricted; 26 years old; 6-foot-1, 208 pounds
Another former Alabama star, Clinton-Dix spent his first four years in the NFL in Green Bay before being traded midway through last season. He has 14 interceptions and has never missed a game in his five NFL seasons.
Arian Amos, Chicago Bears
Unrestricted; 25 years old; 6-foot-0, 214 pounds
Amos showed the Ravens what he could do with a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown at M&T Bank Stadium in 2017. The Baltimore native became an immediate starter as a fifth-round pick out of Penn State in 2015. He has since registered 235 tackles and three interceptions. He blossomed last year in Chicago’s top-ranked defense (in scoring), ranking as the NFL’s seventh-best safety, per Pro Football Focus.
Kareem Jackson, Houston Texans
Unrestricted; 31 years old; 5-foot-10, 185 pounds
A former cornerback who converted to safety last season, Jackson has been a nine-year starter in the NFL. He did well with the change, making 16 starts, 87 tackles, two interceptions, one sack and two forced fumbles last season. A first-round pick out of Alabama in 2010, Jackson has a fair amount of mileage, but brings valuable versatility.