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ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported Weddle intends to sign with the Rams when free agency begins March 13 at 4 p.m. ET.
Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Weddle will receive $10.5 million base salary and up to $12.5 million over two years.
The 34-year-old spent the last three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and made the Pro Bowl in each of those, recording 68 tackles and three passes defensed in 2018.
The Ravens released Weddle on March 5 despite his strong play. Baltimore’s defense ranked among the NFL’s best in every major category, and the University of Utah product was a defensive leader who steadied the back half of the secondary.
Per Jamison Henley of ESPN.com, Weddle said:
“That’s what we set out three years ago when I signed here, turn this defense around and be the best in the league. To see the guys grow and the actual hand you had in helping these guys and try to teach and guide them … that’s the hardest part about all of it. It’s the emotional side. It’s not so much getting cut. That’s life in the NFL. Knowing I won’t get to play with my brothers that I love dearly, that’s the hardest part.”
Weddle said he thought about retirement after the 2018 season but felt his body would withstand at least one more campaign.
“It’s all about my health and my mindset,” he said. “Who knows how long I’ll play? 34-35 is the new 31 with the way guys are playing these days.”
It’s always good to temper expectations with players in their mid-30s, but Weddle performed at a high level on a great defense last season.
The Chargers instantly missed his presence when they moved on after the 2015 season, and Ravens players and management sent Weddle glowing reviews out the door.
Per the Ravens’ official website, Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta said upon the player’s release:
“Eric Weddle is a true pro in every aspect of his life and exemplifies what it means to play like a Raven.
“He’s the ultimate competitor, a great leader and one of the smartest players we’ve ever had. He’s a unique blend of talent, work ethic, passion and humility. Eric will always be a significant part of our Ravens family, and we’ll enjoy watching his next chapter.”
The Rams had an opening at safety with Lamarcus Joyner set to become a free agent next week. Rather than wait for the market to play out, the reigning NFC champions struck quickly with one of the best players at the position available.
Weddle will try to get the Rams over the hump in 2019 after their pass defense finished tied for 25th in touchdown passes allowed (31).