The Baltimore Ravens' roster is currently in flux at several major positions, most notably on the defensive side, after the team released safety Eric Weddle and reportedly lost linebacker C.J. Mosley to the New York Jets.
Weddle started every game in the Ravens' secondary the past three seasons after signing as a free agent in 2016. After intercepting 10 passes during his first two years with the team, the safety failed to record a pick last season. With Weddle entering his age 34 season, the Ravens decided to move on.
"In this salary cap era, in this era where younger means cheaper, is there that much of a difference between where Eric Weddle is now versus what they think they can pick up cheaper and younger? That's the decision they're making," NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said on
Glenn Clark Radio
Weddle almost immediately found a job elsewhere following his March 6 release, signing with the Los Angeles Rams two days later. Davis said the NFL is a "ruthless business," and veterans aren't afforded the same extended stays with organizations that they have in previous seasons, with teams cutting bait as players begin to decline.
If the Ravens look to the draft to replace Weddle, one possibility could be Nasir Adderley, one of the top safety prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. Davis agreed with fellow NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah's Adderley-Weddle comparison, which makes the former Delaware defensive back an intriguing option.
"It makes a lot of sense the way they play," Davis said. "If you watched any tape of Adderley, you will see him in multiple spots like you see Weddle, and you'll see him make plays on the football and you'll see a toughness to him."
Mosley will leave another big spot to fill, having been an integral part of the Ravens' defense since he was drafted in 2014. Mosley reportedly reached a five-year, $85 million deal with the Jets that includes $51 million guaranteed, numbers the Ravens did not match.
"It's not just simply how they value him," Davis said before the agreement. "It's if he's no longer on our team and the replacement is that close, despite whatever flaw they perceive for [the replacement] to have, is that close enough that we can build around that and still be able to play?"
The linebacker position is evolving with the rest of the game, with teams transitioning to fast, lean players like the Atlanta Falcons' Deion Jones and pending unrestricted free agent Kwon Alexander. Linebackers are asked to make plays in the backfield and defend the pass, making LSU's Devin White and Michigan's Devin Bush perfect options for linebacker-needy teams, Davis said.
Wide receiver has been an issue in Baltimore for years, and Davis had a somewhat unique solution. Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell has been mentioned in Ravens rumors, and though his running ability fits well with Baltimore's offensive scheme, his receiving skills could be even more valuable.
"It's not just him running the football, it's where the Ravens struggled in recent years on offense -- it's been with receivers," Davis said. "Le'Veon Bell helps solve part of that problem, because he has wide receiver skills in his arsenal."
Bell would elevate the rest of the Ravens' receivers by taking some pressure off of them, improving the collective pass-catching group, according to Davis.
If the team wants to go with a wide receiver early in the draft, there are options, Davis said. No player separated himself at the recent NFL Scouting Combine, with Mississippi's D.K. Metcalf, Arizona State's N'Keal Harry and Ohio State's Parris Campbell each presenting intriguing talent.
"Different teams will buy into them in different ways," Davis said.
For more from Davis, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Jordan Burgess/Delaware Athletics