For the second straight offseason, the Ravens have signed arguably the top free agent safety available.
Officially able to sign free agents after the 4 p.m. start of free agency, the Ravens worked quickly to finalize a deal with former Arizona Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson.
The Ravens signed Jefferson to a four-year, $36 million despite the Cleveland Browns making a bigger offer, according to ESPN. The $9 million per year average makes him the sixth highest paid safety in the league.
An undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma, Jefferson started 31 games over parts of four seasons for the Cardinals. He has 277 career tackles, five sacks, 11 passes defended, two interceptions, six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. His best season was last year as he started 14 of 15 games and had 96 tackles, two sacks and five passes defended.
Overshadowed by Arizona star defensive backs Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu, Jefferson was ranked as the fifth best safety in the game last year by Pro Football Focus. Weddle topped their rankings at the position.
If there is a concern, Weddle and Jefferson are both considered more strong safety types who excel closer to the line of scrimmage. However, the Ravens have said several times that they view the two safety positions as interchangeable.
Jefferson is known a sure-handed tackler and a big hitter. His coverage skills have also improved throughout his career as he’s proven to be a tough matchup for tight ends.
The team also announced is has picked up an option on wide receiver Mike Wallace's contract and has signed running back Danny Woodhead and quarterback Ryan Mallett.