Matt Elam’s Deal Important Step for the Baltimore Ravens

By Jermaine Lockett
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

With an inaugural contract worth $6.767 million out of the way, Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam has to now turn his thoughts toward filling some pretty big shoes in Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard.  Reed was allowed to hit free agency and the Houston Texans’ southern hospitality and greenery were just too much for the Ravens’ brass to compete with.  Pollard was cut earlier this offseason allegedly for his mouthy outburst against John Harbaugh, concerning a padded or unpadded practice discussion late in the season.  Either way, Michael Huff and Elam will have their hands full, taking on the workload left behind by the two.

The final first round pick of the 2013 NFL Draft signed a deal for four years with $5.4 million in guaranteed money.  What is not guaranteed is his starting job.  Harbaugh will not let a front office payment decide how his depth chart plays out.  Simply put, the best player will play.  An example of similar behavior is the signing of former first round pick CB Jimmy Smith in 2011.  Smith was signed to a four-year, $7.4 million contract, but Harbaugh awarded Cary Williams the starting job due to his consistent offseason improvement.

Elam will go into training camp next week with some fat pockets; however, unless he gets after it and proves to the Ravens coaching staff that he wants it more than hard hitting safety James Ihedigbo, he might be getting paid to ride the bench in 2013.  Elam was very smart in not hiring an agent.  The Rookie Salary Cap does not allow enough wiggle room to need an agent.  His deal means focusing on winning a starting job is now more realistic.  Getting this deal done was not only beneficial for Elam but for the Ravens as a whole; because we know that players cannot get better unless they make it to camp on time.

Jermaine Lockett is a writer for Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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