After losing some key defensive players, Baltimore Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta signed former Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas to a four-year, $55 million deal, which includes $32 million fully guaranteed. Thomas will take over for recently released safety Eric Weddle who has since signed with the Los Angeles Rams.
Signing Thomas helps ease the agony of losing outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals worth $7 million.
The Ravens have always been known for their outstanding defense— it's basically a part of their DNA. Two of the Ravens three Hall of Fame players— Ray Lewis and Ed Reed— were defensive standouts.
Suggs is sure to join Lewis and Reed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame once he retires.
Losing Suggs came as a surprise to the Ravens front office who felt confident they would be able to re-sign the veteran who has been with the team since 2012. Now they are scrambling to find another edge defender to help their defense.
Suggs isn't the only Ravens defensive player who has fled the nest. Pro Bowl linebacker and team captain C.J. Mosley signed a monstrous five year $85 million contract with $51 million guaranteed to play for the New York Jets. Mosley hinted at wanting to stay with the Ravens before free agency started but the Jets made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
The defense also lost outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith via free agency, as well. Smith's signed a four-year deal for $66 million with $34.5 million guaranteed with the Green Bay Packers. So, who is left?
Cornerback Jimmy Smith and defensive lineman Brandon Williams are now the leaders of the defense. Thomas will settle in as a leader as well. The secondary includes cornerback Marlon Humphrey and nickel corner Tavon Young who signed a three-year, $25.8 million contract extension in February. Linebacker Patrick Onwuasor will have to pick up for the loss of Mosley.
Change has definitely come for the Ravens defense. However, armed with six picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, Baltimore will get a chance to add more players to their defense.