The Baltimore Ravens’ free agent signing spree has continued into week two of the free agency period. The Ravens have signed former Dallas Cowboys’ cornerback Brandon Carr. Carr is the second major piece to be added to the Ravens’ secondary through free agency, Tony Jefferson being the first. With two major additions to an already impressive cast in 2016, the Ravens can expect to have a top NFL secondary in 2017.
Carr, 30-years-old, signed a four-year deal with the Ravens and is coming off a successful 2016 campaign. This move surprised a lot of fans and pundits due to the Ravens being linked to the other Dallas Cowboys’ free agent cornerback Morris Claiborne. In the end, the Ravens went with Carr and Claiborne signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets. Carr signed for four years and could be paid up to $24 million if all the options are picked up. The contract is set up to essentially be a one-year deal with a series of team options, making it four years if the Carr plays well enough. This is a win-win situation for the Ravens. If Carr ends up playing well, the Ravens have the ability to keep him on the roster until he will be 34, giving them long-term security at the cornerback position. If Carr does not play well then this is ultimately a one-year deal and the Ravens can let him go at the end of the 2017 season. It is not hard to imagine Carr playing well enough next year for the Ravens to keep him for at least another season. Carr has never missed a game in his NFL career, suiting up in 144 straight regular season games. In 2016 Carr recorded 53 tackles, nine passes defended, and an interception. If Carr can come close to those stats in 2017 then he will be around in Baltimore for quite a while.
Carr will be flanked by Jimmy Smith on the other side of the defense. Smith dealt with some injuries in 2016 which led to his subpar stat line. However, in his last two healthy seasons, 2013 and 2015, Smith recorded 97 tackles, 26 passes defended, and five interceptions. If Smith can stay on the field then he is a very good player, and now that he will be joined by Carr the cornerback position for the Ravens has the potential to be very good in 2017.
Former Arizona Cardinals’ safety Tony Jefferson will be joining Eric Weddle at the back end of the defense. Both safeties had successful seasons last year. Weddle was named to his third Pro-Bowl while Jefferson proved himself to be one of the league’s best safeties in the NFL. Jefferson had 74 tackles, five passes defended, two forced fumbles, two sacks, and two fumble recoveries. Jefferson also injects a much-needed youth infusion into the Ravens’ defense. Jefferson is only 25-years-old and is signed for three more years after 2017, making him the long-term solution for the Ravens at safety. The Ravens are hoping for Jefferson and Weddle to replicate their 2016 season and become a top safety duo in the NFL.
In a division with Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, and now Kenny Britt, it is important for the Ravens to have confidence in their secondary. Smith, Weddle, Jefferson and Carr represent the starting four at the back of the defense and should give Ravens’ fans hope in trying to contain those talented receivers. The potential for the Ravens’ secondary is very high, if everyone is able to stay healthy then expect the Ravens to be one of the top defenses against the pass in 2017.
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