Five days after Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he expects guard Marshal Yanda and safety Eric Weddle to return next season, general manager Eric DeCosta struck a more diplomatic tone Wednesday.
Asked whether he shared the optimism Harbaugh expressed at his season-ending news conference Friday about bringing back the two veterans, who are under contract through the 2019 season, DeCosta said the team is “not tied to cutting anybody, and we’re not tied to playing with anybody.”
“Again, I think we want to have the best players we can that we can fit in under the salary cap,” DeCosta said at his introductory news conference. “We want to have a mix of young players and veteran leadership and guys that can help us win games, and there’s a lot of different formulas for that. … We want the best team on the field playing September 2019.”
While Yanda, 34, has not committed to playing in what would be his 13th NFL season, Weddle, 34, has expressed uncertainty about whether the Ravens want him to return for the final year of his deal.
Weddle told the team website last week that he’s “not sure if things are going to get worked out with Baltimore.” He said he “obviously” wants to return, and Harbaugh said Friday that “There's nobody that doesn't want both those players on our team.” But despite what Weddle called “great conversations" with DeCosta, he did not indicate whether the team’s GM wants him back.
DeCosta was similarly vague. Yanda and Weddle, both Pro Bowl players in 2018, will earn base salaries of $7 million and $6.5 million, respectively, in 2019.
“As Ozzie has always said … 'Right player, right price,' ” DeCosta said. “The other thing is, we're going to look at our players on our team, we'll make some tough decisions with certain players. And there's a lot of different ways we could go. We could let some guys go and free up some cap room. We may decide that's not the best thing for us to do for the football team. We may wait to do that with certain players. We may not. We may decide to wait and draft first, and see what we can do via the draft before we really do anything in free agency, which can be effective as well. So I think there's a lot of different strategies that we can use.”