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Eric Weddle to Sign with Baltimore Ravens

The long wait to find out where one of 2016’s hottest free agents would wind up is over, following reports that former Chargers safety Eric Weddle will sign with the Ravens.

Baltimore was somewhat of a latecomer to the party, only throwing its name into the mix last week in a field that included the Raiders, Patriots and Steelers. The addition of Weddle should immediately bolster an unthreatening defensive backfield for the Ravens, who are expected to continue filling secondary holes through the draft despite the signing.

The move raised some eyebrows, though, given Weddle’s list of priorities before the commencement of free agency. At the top of that list was a willingness to take a pay cut if it meant playing for a Super Bowl contender.

On that front, New England and Pittsburgh both seem like needier teams that are closer to their next Lombardi trophy than Baltimore, though the latter’s stock has dropped somewhat following the year-long suspension handed down to troubled wide receiver Martavis Bryant.

Oakland was also in the mix, with some believing the team’s rising upside, myriad cap space and opportunity to stick it to San Diego twice a year could convince Weddle to stay in California.

But don’t be so quick to count out the lurking Ravens. The team lumbered to a 5-11 record last year – easily its worst showing since John Harbaugh took over as head coach – but did so with approximately $55 million worth of its salary cap riding the bench.

The loss of top-tier pass rusher Terrelle Suggs and promising rookie receiver Breshad Perriman before the season even began was a body blow. By the time stalwart quarterback Joe Flacco tore his ACL, all hope was lost and the Ravens were lights out on the canvas.

Now, with all of their top contributors expected to make a full recovery by opening week, the Ravens will again be good enough to beat any team in any given week.

Weddle’s 4-year, $26 million deal is a little inflated from the $5 million/year most other suitors seemed content to spend on a 30-year-old coming off an injury. But if Weddle can propel the Ravens to a third championship with 2-3 years of solid production, he will have been worth every penny.

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