Lardarius Webb is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. In my opinion, he is in the top 10 at the position, when healthy. That last part is the key. We understand that Webb is a talent, and the Ravens won’t be able to go as far as they did last year without him.
But at the same time, I think it is time for the Ravens’ organization, and Ravens’ fans, to think about the financial commitment the team made to Webb, and his ongoing history of injuries. Webb has had two ACL surgeries since he became a Raven in 2009. After tearing an ACL the first time in 2009, Webb rebounded very nicely for the Ravens, especially in 2011 when he didn’t give a single touchdown.
During the 2012 offseason, the Ravens signed Webb to a six-year deal worth $50 million which was a statement by the Ravens. They think he can be a top corner in this league for years to come.
Webb, to start the regular season in 2012, played well as in individual despite some of the struggles the rest of the defense went through. Unfortunately, he suffered another torn ACL in week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys. At the time many thought that the Ravens lost arguably their best defensive player for the season, and their Super Bowl hopes were over. That ended up being a laughable statement, of course.
But aside from that the question remains if the Ravens made the right move signing Webb to a huge contract.
Let’s look at Webb’s cap numbers for the rest of his contract according to Spotrac.com:
2013: 5.3 Million
2014: 10.5 Million
2015: 11 Million
2016: 11 Million
2017: 9.5 Million
At this pace, you could argue that Webb might not last on this roster past the 2014 season. To me, a double-digit cap number for a cornerback must mean he is an elite corner. To be elite, you have to be on the field.
I think Webb is one of the best corners in the NFL as I mentioned. But his propensity to be injured is starting to worry me.
He left last week’s game against the Buffalo Bills in the first half, and is listed as questionable.
The Ravens are in a dicey situation right now. Jimmy Smith is playing well since he was inserted in the starting lineup at corner in Week 2, but going forward it remains to be seen if the Ravens want to commit to him.
Combine that with the health issues of Webb, and we could be entering a scary situation where we don’t know who the starting corners will be in the future.
I will say this: The Ravens are lucky to have traded for left tackle Eugene Monroe from the Jacksonville Jaguars. He’s a stable left tackle, and I think he will be the Ravens’ long-term plans.
Adding Monroe means the Ravens can do some serious searching for a corner in the 2014 NFL draft. We can live with what is happening right now, but the future of the secondary pretty much starts next year in my opinion. Webb’s cap number is too high to keep going the way the Ravens are going financially, especially if he can’t stay healthy.