About two weeks after saying he would walk away from the game if the Ravens released him, Weddle, a six-time Pro Bowl safety, said he is now open to playing elsewhere if Baltimore doesn’t want him.
Weddle, 34, is scheduled to make $6.5 million in 2019, which is the final year of his four-year, $26 million deal.
“I’m not sure if things are going to get worked out with Baltimore. Obviously, I want to be back,” Weddle told the team website at the Pro Bowl on Wednesday. “[We’ll] see if there’s something to be worked out. If not, then I’ve had an unbelievable experience here and loved every second. So, if it does happen, we both move on, and we’ll see if I’ll play somewhere else or hang ’em up.”
Weddle said he has had “great conversations” with Eric DeCosta, but he didn’t elaborate on whether the Ravens’ new general manager wants him back. Ravens officials have yet to speak to reporters since Baltimore’s wild-card loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Jan. 6.
Weddle’s $8.25 million cap hit is the seventh highest on the team. Baltimore can create $6.5 million by cutting him. It’s possible the Ravens could ask Weddle to take a pay cut to remain with the team.
Weddle finished as the 10th-best safety in football, according to Pro Football Focus. Considered the quarterback of the NFL’s top-ranked defense, Weddle finished third in tackles with 68, but he didn’t record an interception for the first time since 2015.
Coaches have talked about how Weddle’s value goes beyond statistics. Baltimore defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale referred to Weddle as a “football savant” for how he confuses quarterbacks by disguising coverages.
A day after the season ended, Weddle told reporters he would “just ride off in the sunset” if the Ravens didn’t want him back. He did, however, say he still had a desire to play and “can still affect the game and dominate games.”
Weddle, a second-round pick by the Chargers in 2007, spent his first nine seasons in San Diego before having a falling-out with the organization. Since joining the Ravens in 2016, Weddle has reached the Pro Bowl in all three seasons with the Ravens.
Over the past three seasons, Weddle has made 10 interceptions, which ranks as the fifth most among safeties. This past season, he earned a $1 million incentive after he was named to the Pro Bowl and Baltimore reached the postseason.
“I signed for four years, and I want to play it out,” Weddle said. “But obviously, decisions have to be made for the future of the team. The organization has to do what’s best for them. I respect that.”