Ravens safety Matt Elam was arrested in Miami earlier this morning and charged with possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis, possession of cannabis with the intent to sell or deliver, and possession of a controlled substance, as Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk reports. Police say they initially stopped Elam for reckless driving, but they arrested him when they found 126 grams of marijuana and three grams of oxycodone in his vehicle.
The Ravens selected Elam in the first round (No. 32 overall) of the 2013 draft. Although his struggles in his rookie campaign were largely chalked up to growing pains and the fact that he was playing free safety when his skill-set is better-suited to strong safety, he continued to play poorly when he was moved closer to the line in 2014. Though he played in all 16 of Baltimore’s regular season games — including 11 starts — and both of the team’s postseason contests in 2014, he led the team in missed tackles and struggled mightily in coverage. He was ultimately bumped from the starting lineup in favor of Will Hill.
However, he seemed to demonstrate some improvement in offseason workouts and in training camp prior to the 2015 campaign, but a torn biceps forced him to miss the entire season (it should be noted that he did receive a one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on substances of abuse in 2015, but he did not miss any action because he was already on season-ending IR).
The Ravens still had high hopes for him going into the 2016 season, but he was forced to undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair a chip in his knee last August and missed roughly half of the season as a result. He appeared in only nine games and recorded a total of one tackle.
The Ravens declined Elam’s fifth-year option for 2017, so he will be eligible for unrestricted free agency in March. Given his draft pedigree and relative youth, Elam surely would have found work somewhere but today’s arrest, combined with his prior drug-related suspension, could change that.
The Ravens issued a brief official statement on the matter. Via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link):
“We are aware of the arrest of Matt Elam. Matt is not in our plans for the 2017 Ravens.”
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweets that the league is “looking into” the incident.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.