The Baltimore Ravens may have released Eric Weddle, but with the way that both sides have spoken to each other, it certainly doesn’t sound as though any bridges have been burnt. By and large, the 34-year-old safety was a salary cap casualty heading into the final year of his contract.
That fact may be confirmed, like—right now, at 11 AM, as the Ravens are about the announce the extension of one of their pending free agents, which as of the time of this writing is not known. It could be that Weddle’s salary cap relief, which was significant, helped them be able to lock this player up ahead of the start of free agency.
Though new general manager Eric DeCosta ultimately made the decision to left Weddle go, he said that Weddle embodied what it means to be a Raven. And the safety said, for his own part, “who knows? Years down the road, I could be working for Eric”, suggesting that he could take a coaching or scouting job in Baltimore some time after his career ends.
But his playing days are not over yet as he sets to find a new team for 2019, telling reporters that about half the league has already reached out to his agent. So what about staying in the area, perhaps even staying within the division?
“That would be” weird, he admitted. “It’s not out of the question, though”. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is a pretty good friend of his and tried to push for the team to sign him the last time he became available as a street free agent.
Because he was released and did not hit the open market organically, his signing would also not count against their compensatory pick formula, which is a more significant factor in this year than in most years because they figure to lose running back Le’Veon Bell, who hopes to sign a contract that would easily net his soon-to-be-former team a third-round-level compensation.
No matter what happens, Weddle is not in a rush to make a decision, saying that he plans to take a number of free agency visits before he narrows it down to one team. With a very deep safety market this year, however, he might not want to wait too long, because teams will have a number of options.
Especially if the Steelers elect to release Morgan Burnett, who was signed to be a starter but was never healthy enough to seize the role and would provide $5 million in cap relief, it’s certainly a reasonable discussion to have about Pittsburgh adding Weddle.
What comes next is less certain, but the preference, I think, would be to utilize him as the dimebacker, and to make that their base package. He has spent in increasingly large amount of his time on the field in the box in a similar role as it is. Sean Davis and Terrell Edmunds would still serve as the starting safeties, provided that they merit it.