Ravens safety Tony Jefferson has been a defensive leader in Baltimore since he signed a four-year deal in 2017, starting 35 of his first 37 games and rarely coming off the field.
But after suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 5 that coach John Harbaugh called “more than an ACL" tear, Jefferson acknowledged in an Instagram comment Wednesday that this could be his last season with the Ravens. Asked whether he’d be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, Jefferson, 27, said he probably would be.
Jefferson is owed $11.2 million in 2020, the final year of his four-year, $34 million contract, but the Ravens would save $7 million if he’s released. Jefferson, a respected locker room presence and founding member of the team’s “Council,” struggled over the season’s first month, allowing a passer rating of 141.4 in coverage, according to Pro-Football-Reference. A normally sound tackler, he also missed some key open-field takedowns.
Chuck Clark, a versatile defender who has paired well with fellow safety Earl Thomas III and impressed since taking over for Jefferson, is in the third year of his four-year rookie deal. Special teams contributor DeShon Elliot, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 6, is set to return for his third year in Baltimore. Brandon Carr, 33, who has split time between cornerback and safety this season, also has a team option for 2020.