About to become one of the highest paid cornerbacks in the NFL, Lardarius Webb didn’t justify that kind of money with his ability this season, which makes the Baltimore Ravens look at all possible options to release him from the team, but it all depends on who they find to replace him.
Webb, entering his seventh NFL season, carries a $12 million cap hit in the 2015 NFL season with a $8 million base salary. Teams at this stage of the offseason aren’t looking at who to sign, but more at who is expendable, or who is willing to restructure his contract, which means taking a paycut. Webb was flexible in the summer about making these changes and probably isn’t against converting his salary into a signing bonus once again.
However, a lot of it depends on how the Ravens do in the draft or free agency, because if they’ll be able to cut Webb, who has a contract through the 2017 NFL season with a base salary of $8 million which grows to $8.5 million on his final season. The secondary is probably the weakest part of this team’s defense, and upgrading it while taking a little bit of pressure off of the salary cap. Webb was graded by Pro Football Focus as the No. 78 cornerback in 2014. Not exactly warranting a big salary.
Cornerback Jimmy Smith and safety Will Hill are returning as starters most likely. Jalen Collins of LSU is going to be a late first round draft pick and there’s a good chance the Ravens make a move for him unless they figure something out, which means bringing in someone better than Webb. They’re weakest at cornerback, although Matt Elam or Terrence Brooks haven’t been a huge hit at safety as well.
Releasing Webb makes sense, but it all depends on the timing: $2 million cap savings if all the dead money is absorbed in 2015 or $8 million in cap savings if designated as a June 1 release. His usefulness will prove to be enough for another season on the team only if the draft proves to be disappointing for them when it comes to finding a cornerback they feel is going to be good enough to replace Webb right now.