The Baltimore Ravens needed to improve their defensive backfield and the team did just that, signing former Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson as soon as NFL free agency began on Thursday afternoon.
But with Jefferson headed to town to join Eric Weddle, one current Raven would be the odd man out. That man is safety Lardarius Webb, who the team released on Friday morning.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network was the first to report.
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The 31-year-old converted safety was selected by the Ravens in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Nicholls State (FCS). Webb was featured heavily in the return game, and excelled at cornerback thanks to his top-end speed. In 2012, Webb signed a six-year extension with the Ravens worth $50 million, with $20 million guaranteed.
But four years later, the team switched him to safety, and as the miles have added up on the odometer, Webb has become somewhat expendable. In releasing Webb, the Ravens open up $5.5 million in cap space, which will allow the team to be flexible in signing more free agents or making sure they can ink their top players to new deals.
The 2017 NFL Draft is heavy on defensive backs, which played a large role in the decision to release Webb, as the Ravens continue to get younger and build for the future.
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According to Ian Rappoport, the Ravens will be without one of their most important players for the 2017-2018 season.
Running back Kenneth Dixon underwent surgery Tuesday for a torn meniscus. Dixon was expected to be out for a few weeks with a "trim", but it turned into a full repair that will require a four-to-five month recovery. The full repair is more beneficial for his long-term health. This is Dixon's third knee injury in 12 months.
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Dixon was set to miss the first four games of the season for violating the leagues PED policy. In 2016, he had 382 rushing yards and averaged 4.3 yards per carry in 12 games.
Upon losing one of their top RB's, the Ravens are planning to bring back Bobby Rainey who was with the team in 2012 as an undrafted free agent. He will be an addition to Terrance West and Danny Woodhead who will be the teams' staple running backs. Also up for the job is Buck Allen, Lorenzo Taliaferro, and undrafted rookie Taquan Mizzell.
Dixon is the third Raven to suffer a season-ending injury. Cornerback Tavon Young is out for the season after tearing his ACL and tight end Dennis Pitta was waived after suffering a hip injury.
The NFL announced today that tight end Darren Waller of the Baltimore Ravens would be suspended for a year or longer for his second violation of the substance abuse policy.
Waller was a 2015 sixth-round pick out of Georgia Tech who served a four-game suspension to start the 2016 season for a substance abuse violation. After returning from his suspension last year, he posted 10 catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns in a limited role.
After his 2016 violation, he was quoted as saying [via Ravens.com]:
“There were other personal issues, and [marijuana] was the one thing I always turned to,” Waller said. “It was just about finding more positive outlets for me to do, like talking to people about it and things like that. I’m definitely at a better place with that now.”
Unfortunately for the Ravens, he will miss the 2017 season and potentially longer after the latest violation. It leaves the Ravens down two tight ends from last year after Dennis Pitta was released earlier this month after re-injuring his hip.
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