Legion of Large Bucks: Ravens spending $58 million on secondary – NFL Nation

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Earl Thomas was requested about his pleasure degree to play within the Baltimore Ravens’ secondary after being part of the Seattle Seahawks’ “Legion of Increase.”

“I simply must get used to the fellows, man,” Thomas mentioned. “We now have to get within the lab and go to work. I can’t harp on the ‘LOB.’ That’s up to now.”

Earl Thomas, with hat, is aware of the Ravens are a franchise lengthy predicated on protection. Kevin Richardson/The Baltimore Solar through AP

Thomas’ current is a Baltimore secondary that lacks a catchy nickname however has been bestowed an funding not like some other within the NFL.

The Ravens are spending $58 million on their prime six defensive backs this yr. Baltimore signed Thomas ($22 million with base wage and signing bonus mixed), prolonged the contract of nickelback Tavon Younger (a complete of $11 million base wage and signing bonus), exercised the choice for cornerback Brandon Carr ($6 million) and introduced again Jimmy Smith ($9.5 million), Tony Jefferson ($eight million) and Marlon Humphrey ($1.542 million).

By way of wage cap, the Ravens’ secondary has mixed for a league-high $56.7 million salary-cap determine, based on ESPN’s Roster Administration System. That accounts for 30 % of Baltimore’s complete cap.

Given this price ticket, the Ravens predict this defensive backfield to be among the many league’s greatest. Baltimore is actually returning final season’s fifth-ranked cross protection however with what many imagine is an improve at free security. When wholesome, Thomas has proven extra vary and playmaking skill than Eric Weddle.

The Ravens’ schedule explains why first-year common supervisor Eric DeCosta has opened up the pockets for the secondary. Baltimore is going through 4 of the highest seven quarterbacks in passing yards (Ben Roethlisberger, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff and Tom Brady) in addition to Russell Wilson (third-highest passer score), Deshaun Watson (coming off first Professional Bowl) and Baker Mayfield (27 landing passes).

The Ravens will want Smith to quiet Odell Beckham Jr. like he has achieved up to now. They’re going to need Humphrey to go stride for stride with A.J. Inexperienced and DeAndre Hopkins. They’re going to search for Thomas to cowl the center of the sphere when Tyreek Hill goes deep.

That is as deep, gifted and bodily as any secondary underneath coach John Harbaugh, who has envisioned this for a very long time. There have been too many playoff video games towards Brady and Peyton Manning by which the Ravens began Frank Walker or Rashaan Melvin at cornerback due to accidents and went with Kendrick Lewis and Will Hill at security due to cap limitations.

TeamCap figureRankRavens$56.7M5Patriots$51.5M22Dolphins$43.7M21Vikings$42.2M3Texans$40.2M28Supply: ESPN Roster Administration System

There can be extra stress on the secondary to stay with receivers to assist the cross rush get to quarterbacks. The Ravens misplaced 15.5 sacks when Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith signed elsewhere in free company. Baltimore is predicted so as to add a veteran pass-rusher in free company, and the Ravens can go from an even bigger (however dearer) splash with Kansas Metropolis’s Justin Houston to a less expensive various in Inexperienced Bay’s Nick Perry.

In an age when groups are throwing the ball greater than ever earlier than, the Ravens have prided themselves at being among the many greatest in slowing down the big-play passing assaults. Since Harbaugh turned coach in 2008, Baltimore leads the NFL in lowest passer score allowed (79.three).

Over the span, the Ravens have held groups to the fourth-fewest passing yards (218.6 per sport) and have recorded the second-most interceptions (226). The one protection to select off extra passes was the Seattle Seahawks and Thomas’ Legion of Increase.

“One factor I knew coming right here, I knew I used to be going to be on an incredible protection,” Thomas mentioned. “Protection goes to win you championships, in order that was all I wanted to know.”

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