The Ravens have reportedly agreed to a deal with free agent safety Tony Jefferson. Jefferson, 25, was an undrafted free agent in 2013. RSR Staff react to the signing here.
— NFL (@NFL) March 9, 2017
When I learned that Tony Jefferson was going to be an UFA and Eric Weddle was Tweeting love his way about coming to Baltimore, that recruiting effort alone saved the Ravens money. Pairing him up with Weddle boosts the secondary and it helps a rush defense that will be missing Brandon Williams and Zach Orr. Jefferson was the second best run defender among all safeties per PFF.
The move probably cost the Ravens very little in cap space because it likely signals the end for Lardarius Webb who will save the team $5.5M in cap space if he’s let go. The possibility does exist for Webb to accept a lower salary, perhaps that vacated by Kendrick Lewis or Kyle Arrington, but that may be wishful thinking given the dollars available in this free agent market. Webb might want to test the market.
At the end of the day, the Ravens secondary just got better, possibly without taxing the 2017 cap.
Solid signing for the Ravens as they not only roster PFF’s number one overall rated safety from last year in Eric Weddle, but now also have the fifth-ranked safety. The move comes with a bit of risk as Jefferson is coming off a season-ending injury (MCL sprain) but should be indeed healed by the time the team is ready to hit the football field. The signing also means it’s likely the end for Lardarius Webb in a Ravens uniform. Now, about that pass rush!
This was a match that made a ton of sense since well before free agency began. The biggest obstacle was money. But give credit to the Ravens front office for making a bold move to add a much-needed playmaker on the back end. Jefferson is only 25 and should be a tremendous mix-and-match fit alongside Weddle. In a lot of ways, their games mirror each other. Moreover, Jefferson offers much more to the table to blitz and play the run than Lardarius Webb does.
Signing a 25-year old safety that posted a 98.0 run defense grade last year (per PFF) is a big step in the right direction for Baltimore.
The roster renovation is far from over, but if this move becomes official, it’s a good start.
Give a lot of credit to Weddle…he apparently recruited Jefferson, who turned down less money from the Browns to come to Baltimore. Weddle and Jefferson together give the Ravens a much better secondary than what they had last year. And when they draft a couple more young secondary players, the Ravens D could be back. Now they need to re-sign Brandon Williams.
Tony Jefferson quietly became one of the best safeties in football last year. He could have gone to the Browns for what was likely a larger payday but being part of a team with a chance to compete for a playoff spot was apparently more important. Combining that with the fact that he’s in his prime at just 25 years old makes this a quality free agent pick up for the Ravens.
This will likely result in the release of Lardarius Webb and despite the fact that he played fairly well towards the end of last season it’s a move that’s two years overdue.
This is a good, young safety for 5 years. I’ll be interested to review tape of Jefferson to see what he brings on the back end. PFF has endorsed him as one of the best run-stopping safeties in the game. It’s nice to solve any positional deficiency with a draft pick, but Jefferson just turned 25, so the Ravens have reason to believe they’ll realize value on this contract. I like the move in a vacuum (and without knowing contract details), but it presumably means a huge slice of cap to safety for the foreseeable future.