Lardarius Webb

Ravens Release Lardarius Webb

For the second straight March, the Ravens made the decision to release their longest-tenured defensive back.

The franchise cut Lardarius Webb again on Monday, per Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter), and there might not be an immediate path back onto the roster for the nine-year Ravens starter.

Webb was used mostly off the bench last season, but he’s made 85 starts with Baltimore and suited up for 127 regular-season games. The Ravens, who are up against the cap, will save $1.75MM by making this move.

The Ravens brought Webb back last year at a reduced rate but may not do the same for what will be the defender’s age-33 season.

He saw action in six playoff games, starting four, for the franchise. Although, an injury prevented him from suiting up during the Ravens’ four 2012 playoff contests. However, in Baltimore’s near-Super Bowl run during 2011, Webb intercepted eight passes (five in the regular season, three in those playoffs).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Brady, Maclin, Bowman, Jets

Tom Brady suffered a “painful” thumb injury during a practice that took place at the beginning of the week, reports Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston. According to Curran, the 40-year-old quarterback cut his thumb badly when a running back smashed it while the team was running a play at practice. However, Curran notes that Brady can throw, but doesn’t know exactly just how much it will affect the Patriots gameplan this Sunday.

As always, Curran notes that the team is not letting much information out to the press or public at this time. It’s highly unlikely that Brady will not play in the AFC Championship game, but it is a story that people should keep track of as the game time approaches over the weekend. Perhaps the biggest development that Curran has to offer is that Brady is “not taking snaps from under center”.

The team has listed Brady as questionable on the most recent injury report, but the impact of the injury could have a major effect on Bill Belichick‘s gameplan even though nobody expects the five-time Super Bowl winner to miss such a big game.

Here are more stories coming out of the AFC:

  • The Ravens have a few players that could be cut in order to create some more cap space for potential offseason moves. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun listed some of the veterans that could be on their way out. These names included: Lardarius Webb, Danny Woodhead, Brandon Carr, Austin Howard, Breshad Perriman and Albert McClellan. However, the most interesting player on his list could be wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. The Ravens thought Maclin would be a key addition after he has cut by the Chiefs last offseason, but it was mostly a pedestrian year for 29-year-old pass catcher. Baltimore needs a makeover at the receiver position and could make room for new targets for Joe Flacco by cutting Maclin and letting the likes of Mike Wallace and Michael Campanaro walk in free agency.
  • While the addition of NaVorro Bowman could not stop the bleeding of a disappointing 2017 Raiders season, that doesn’t necessarily mean that new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther doesn’t want the veteran linebacker back in the fold in 2018, reports Scott Bair of NBC Sports“NaVorro is a prototype middle linebacker, really,” said Guenther. “The thing that impressed me most with NaVorro is that they got him here midseason and by the end of the year, it appeared to me that he was kind of the leader of the unit, making a lot of calls. You can see that on tape. It looks like he is a smart guy that understands the game. I love smart guys that love playing football. Hopefully we can get him back in the fold and keep him a Raider.”
  • Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson was arrested on a number of charges earlier this morning. Connor Hughes of has more details about what occurred to bring this type of discipline. According to a police report that obtained, Hughes reports that Anderson”rapidly accelerated” past cops at 105 mph after he saw them on the side of the road. As the cops followed behind Anderson, the report states that Anderson was “all over the road”, and seemingly “failed to maintain a single lane on numerous occasions.” Anderson did eventually stop the car and was arrested, but not until make a number of threats to the police officer’s wife. These details spell more bad news for Anderson who already was arrested back in May while he was at a festival in Miami. The wideout may face discipline from the NFL, but the league still must do their due diligence investigating the incidents until any punishments will be handed down to the 24-year-old.

North Notes: Browns, Ravens, Lions, Vikings

Browns edge rusher Myles Garrett, the first pick in this year’s draft, suffered a left foot injury Wednesday that left him in “obvious pain,” reports Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland. A day later, Garrett sat out practice as team doctors evaluated his foot, a club spokesman announced. The Browns won’t provide further details on Garrett’s ailment, per Cabot, who relays that the injury likely isn’t serious. Meanwhile, Ian Rapoport of tweets that Garrett should be “fine.” Foot issues are nothing new for Garrett, who dealt with soreness throughout organized team activities and battled a high ankle sprain during his final year at Texas A&M last season. Fortunately, though, it looks as if he and the Browns will escape relatively unscathed in this instance.

More from the NFL’s North divisions:

  • Unsurprisingly, it appears injured tight end Dennis Pitta‘s release from the Ravens last week will bring an end to his career. When speaking with reporters Thursday, Pitta didn’t announce his retirement, but he conceded, “I’m not delusional” (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun). Hip problems limited Pitta to seven games from 2013-15, but he returned last season to post a 16-game campaign and catch a team-high 86 passes. The soon-to-be 32-year-old suffered a hip dislocation earlier this month, though, leading the Ravens to cut ties after seven seasons.
  • In his first meeting with the Detroit media on Thursday, newly acquired Lions offensive tackle Greg Robinson called the trade that sent him from Los Angeles to the Motor City “a big surprise,” per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Robinson busted with the Rams, who selected him second overall in 2014, and acknowledged that things “haven’t really went the way I would like” to this point. The 24-year-old expects to jump-start his career in Detroit, however. “I plan on benefiting from (my fresh start) tremendously,” Robinson declared. “It’s really refreshing and I plan to make the most out of it.”
  • Browns quarterback Brock Osweiler has been “very happy” with his performance this spring, and the ex-Texan explained Wednesday why his play has improved from his disastrous 2016 in Houston. “The best part is I’m getting coached hard on my fundamentals,” Osweiler said, via Nate Ulrich of “And I believe firmly that when your fundamentals and your feet are right as a quarterback, you’re going to make great decisions and you’re going to throw accurate footballs.” Osweiler added that his “fundamentals slid” last year, but he declined “to go into great detail” on why. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk interprets Osweiler’s remarks as a shot at the Texans’ coaching staff, particularly Bill O’Brien, who didn’t get along well with the signal-caller last season.
  • Defensive back Lardarius Webb experienced a “tepid market” during his month of unemployment before re-signing with the Ravens in May, as Zrebiec details. The only club known to have expressed interest in the 31-year-old Webb was the Vikings, although Baltimore reportedly had interest in bringing Webb back almost instantly after releasing him. The Ravens saved $5.5MM in cap space by originally cutting ties with Webb, who has since inked a new three-year deal worth $6.3MM (with another $1.4MM available annually via incentives).
  • Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer indicated Wednesday that both kicker Kai Forbath and punter Ryan Quigley will have to fight for their jobs this summer, telling reporters that “there’s an open competition” at both spots (via Mark Craig of the Star Tribune). Forbath, whom the Vikings signed last November after releasing Blair Walsh, made all 15 of his field goal attempts with Minnesota in 2016 but will battle second-year man Marshall Koehn to stay with the club. “He’s got the stronger leg,” Priefer said of Koehn. “This kid is coming on strong. It’s a great competition.” Quigley, an April signing, will try to fend off another second-year player, Taylor Symmank, after averaging a career-worst 41.6 yards per punt on 34 attempts with the Cardinals last season.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

AFC North Notes: Bengals, Steelers, Ravens

The Bengals were interested in defensive end Chris Smith for more than a year before acquiring him from the Jaguars this week, tweets Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Jacksonville’s new front office structure, which now includes Tom Coughlin, helped the trade come to fruition, per Owczarski. The Bengals forked over a conditional 2018 seventh-round pick for Smith, who has appeared in 19 games over the past three seasons. Smith, 25, will slide into a Cincinnati edge rushing group that also includes Carlos Dunlap, Michael Johnson, Will Clarke, and Wallace Gilberry. The Bengals are likely to add a pass rusher early in the draft this month, so Smith isn’t a lock to make the roster, especially given that he hasn’t been active on special teams.

Here’s more from the AFC North:

  • Washington wide receiver John Ross will meet with the Bengals over the weekend, per Ian Rapoport of (Twitter link). Ross was thought to have completed his predraft visits, but Cincinnati scheduled a visit “at the last minute,” according to Rapoport. The Bengals re-signed veteran pass-catcher Brandon LaFell last month, and have 2016 draft picks Tyler Boyd and Cody Core on the roster, but are still looking for another weapon to play opposite A.J. Green. Ross could conceivably be in play for Cincinnati at No. 9 (especially after posting a 4.22 40-yard dash at the combine), but would more likely be in consideration if the Bengals trade down in the first round.
  • Safety Lardarius Webb‘s new three-year deal with the Ravens has a base value of $5.1MM, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). The pact comes with a $1.2MM signing bonus, while another $1.4MM is available annually via incentives. Those incentives are based on playing time, interceptions, fumble recoveries, punt return yards, and other statistical measurements, per Zrebiec. Webb, 32, played 95% of Baltimore’s defensive snaps in 2016, but his role could be reduced now that the Ravens have signed free agent safety Tony Jefferson.
  • The Steelers plan to host Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster next week, tweets Adam Caplan of Foster has some off-field concerns and injury issues, but he’s still the best off-ball linebacker in this year’s class, so he probably won’t be around when Pittsburgh comes on the clock at No. 30 barring a draft-day all. The Steelers already boast one of the league’s best inside linebackers in Ryan Shazier, while Vince Williams is projected to replace Lawrence Timmons, who signed with Miami.

Ravens To Re-Sign Lardarius Webb

Less than one month ago, the Ravens released Lardarius Webb. Today, the defensive back is set to return to Baltimore. The two sides are nearing agreement on a new deal, according to Jason La Canfora of (on Twitter). It will be a three-year pact with a maximum value of $10.5MM, reports Jeff Zriebec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links). Lardarius Webb (vertical)

Webb, 31, was displaced by the signing of former Arizona safety Tony Jefferson. Jefferson will play a more prominent role in the Ravens secondary, but Webb can still be expected to see a good amount of playing time. Jefferson is much younger than Webb, but the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus indicated that they both played at a high level in 2016. Webb was PFF’s No. 15 ranked safety while Jefferson placed in fifth.

To date, Webb has spent his entire eight-year career in Baltimore and he’s now ticketed for a ninth campaign with the Ravens. In total, he has appeared in 111 games with 82 starts. Last season, he finished with 73 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble in 16 games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Defense

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for 2017:

Edge defender:

  1. Dwight Freeney
  2. Elvis Dumervil
  3. Chris Long
  4. Mario Williams
  5. Connor Barwin
  6. Paul Kruger
  7. Trent Cole
  8. Erik Walden
  9. Jason Jones
  10. Darryl Tapp
  11. Devin Taylor
  12. Eugene Sims
  13. Howard Jones
  14. Wallace Gilberry
  15. Sam Acho

The pass rushing market has been completely depleted during the first week of free agency, as 14 of our original top 15 edge players have now been franchised, signed, or, in the case of DeMarcus Ware, retired. As such, a 37-year-old with 15 NFL seasons under his belt is now the best pass rusher on the market. Dwight Freeney played on roughly a third of the Falcons’ defensive snaps in 2016, and posted three sacks and 18 hurries. Capable of playing in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, Freeney can still help out a club on the cheap.Dwight Freeney (Vertical)

Three players on this list — Elvis Dumervil, Connor Barwin, and Eugene Sims — were released by their respective clubs last week, meaning they won’t count against the compensatory formula if and when they’re signed. Dumervil, now 33, was hampered by injuries last season but still earned strong pass-rushing marks from Pro Football Focus. Barwin, meanwhile, wasn’t a good fit in Jim Schwartz‘s 4-3 defense, but he should flourish if he signs with a team running a 3-4 look. So far, he’s met with the Bengals (who use a 4-3) and Rams (3-4).

Chris Long has already indicated he won’t be returning to the Patriots, indicating he wants to join a roster where he’ll earn more playing time. Erik Walden, too, won’t re-sign with his 2016 club (the Colts), but he has taken a visit with the division rival Titans. Further down the list, Howard Jones has also met with at least one club, as he was hosted by the Jets on Tuesday. Jones, 27, is recovering from a torn ACL, but did post five sacks in five starts last season.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Johnathan Hankins
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Jared Odrick
  4. Vance Walker
  5. Sen’Derrick Marks
  6. Ricky Jean-Francois
  7. Roy Miller
  8. Al Woods
  9. Tony McDaniel
  10. Cullen Jenkins
  11. Frostee Rucker
  12. Cam Thomas
  13. John Jenkins
  14. Tyson Jackson
  15. Tyson Alualu

Although top-flight players such as Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams have already been signed, the crop of interior defenders remains strong at the top. The buzz around Johnathan Hankins has been virtually non-existent, as the only club that’s been even tangentially linked to the 25-year-old is the Redskins. He’s one of the youngest free agents on the market, and therefore is probably looking for a massive payday. But the lack of interest around Hankins may be an indication that he’s simply asking for too much money.Johnathan Hankins (Vertical)

The same issue could be surrounding Dontari Poe, although he’s not wanting for meetings around the league. He’s visited with the Colts, Falcons, Jaguars, and Dolphins, while the 49ers and Raiders also reportedly have some level of interest. Clubs may have concerns about Poe’s lingering back issues, and he might have to accept a one-year deal in order to prove he’s healthy and willing to provide full effort.

The remaining defensive interior players are mostly over-30 veterans, with names such as Tony McDaniel, Cullen Jenkins, Frostee Rucker, and Tyson Jackson still looking for new deals. While most of these guys can still play, they may have to wait awhile — possibly into the summer — before signing on with their next club. Jared Odrick (Patriots) and Vance Walker (Bears) have both taken visits, but the most intriguing lineman here may be Sen’Derrick Marks, who offers a good amount of pass rush from the interior.

Read more

Vikings Interested In CB Lardarius Webb

The Vikings have interest in free agent defensive back Lardarius Webb, Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press tweets. The Ravens have some level interest in bringing the fan favorite back on a reduced deal, so it’s fair to wonder if he’ll truly consider outside offers. Lardarius Webb (vertical)

[RELATED: Ravens May Re-Sign Lardarius Webb]

The Vikings currently project to start a pair of former first-round picks at cornerback in Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes with Harrison Smith at free safety and Andrew Sendejo at strong safety. However, after losing Captain Munnerlyn to the Panthers in free agency, they could use some veteran help in the secondary. Webb started all 16 regular season games for Baltimore last season while seeing time at cornerback and both safety spots.

Last season, the 31-year-old finished with 73 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens May Re-Sign Lardarius Webb

The Ravens are mulling a reunion with defensive back Lardarius Webb just days after releasing him, tweets Jason La Canfora of Additionally, Baltimore may be closing in on agreement with free agent cornerback Morris Claiborne, as several teams with interest in Claiborne believe he’ll ultimately land with the Ravens, per La Canfora.Lardarius Webb (vertical)

Baltimore cut ties with Webb on Friday after agreeing to terms with fellow safety Tony Jefferson, a cost-saving move that saved the club $5.5MM in cap space. Presumably, a potential Webb return would come with a lower price attached. Webb had spent his entire eight-year career in Baltimore appearing in 111 total games with 82 starts. Last season, the 31-year-old finished with 73 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble in 16 games (all starts).

Claiborne, meanwhile, was first linked to the Ravens last week. The 26-year-old transformed himself from a former draft bust to a legitimate top corner in his fifth NFL season, ranking as Pro Football Focus 12th-best corner last year year. Re-signed to a one-year deal worth only $3MM in 2016, Claiborne played in seven and posted one interception. Injuries forced Claiborne to miss more than half of the regular season, though he did return for the postseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens To Cut Lardarius Webb

The Ravens are releasing defensive back Lardarius Webb, a source tells Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter). We heard earlier this week that the Ravens were likely to part ways with the fan favorite.Lardarius Webb (vertical)

By cutting one of their longest-tenured players, Baltimore will save $5.5MM in cap room. Webb, 31, is being displaced after the team’s high-priced signing of former Arizona safety Tony Jefferson. Jefferson is several years younger, but the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus were nearly as high on Webb as they were on Jefferson last year. Webb was PFF’s No. 15 ranked safety, Jefferson placed in fifth.

Webb has spent his entire eight-year career in Baltimore, until today. In total, he has appeared in 111 games with 82 starts. Last season, the defender finished with 73 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble in 16 games (16 starts).

The Ravens will surely be looking for additional help at the position, as the team is currently rostering only a pair of safeties in Jefferson and Eric Weddle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens To Sign Tony Jefferson

A year after signing safety Eric Weddle, the Ravens are set to make another splash at the position in free agency. The club will sign Tony Jefferson, report Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini of ESPN (Twitter link).


Jefferson is the second big-name defender who has agreed to depart the Cardinals this evening, joining soon-to-be Jaguar Calais Campbell. The safety’s decision to sign with the Ravens came in spite of a better offer from the AFC North rival Browns, tweets Ian Rapoport of The Jets also had interest in Jefferson, per Rich Cimini of (Twitter link), but Weddle helped convince him to head to Baltimore, according to Mike Garafolo of (via Twitter).

Jefferson hit clubs’ radars in the wake of a season in which he logged career bests in tackles (92), starts (14) and sacks (two). Although Jefferson failed to intercept a pass last year, and has recorded only two picks in four NFL seasons, he’s known for his line-of-scrimmage prowess and managed to rank an outstanding fifth in performance among Pro Football Focus’ 89 qualified safeties. He also rated as our 11th-best free agent and top safety.

The addition of an in-his-prime Jefferson, 25, is a boon for the Ravens, but not for one of their other safeties, Lardarius Webb. The team is now primed to release him and pick up $5.5MM in cap room, according to Jamison Hensley of Interestingly, PFF liked the 15th-ranked Webb’s play nearly as much as it did Jefferson’s last season. However, at 31, Webb is the far older of the two. To this point, he has spent his entire eight-year career in Baltimore, where he has amassed 111 appearances, 82 starts and 13 interceptions. Webb started all 16 of the Ravens’ games last year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.