OWINGS MILLS, Md. — One by one, the Baltimore Ravens watched last season’s top-ranked defense at the get gradually shattered at the start of free agency.

To begin with, it had been leading tackler C.J. Mosley planning into the ny Jets. Afterward, it had been Terrell Suggs, the surface of the defense, surprisingly joining the Arizona Cardinals. Lastly, it had been sacks leader Za’Darius Smith cashing in using all the Greenbaypackers .

The Ravens responded on Wednesday by giving a monumental arrangement to safety Earl Thomas, who received the wealthiest deal to get a non-quarterback in the company’s 24-year history. There exists a reason struck a four-year, $55 million deal with all the last remaining member of this”Legion of Boom” at Seattle.

Thomas is really a leader. He’s a playmaker and probably the dreaded ball hawk at since Ed Reed. He’s a critical first piece in rebuilding the very best defense in the league.

Many assumed would pursue Le’Veon Bell, however, went with value at running with Mark Ingram and moved all out for the top free safety readily offered.

Few teams support that the free safety position in such high esteem because the Ravens, and ’s track listing backs up it up. After the Ravens place the record for the most points allowed at a 16-game season in 2000, Rod Woodson had been patrolling center field. After ranked No. 1 at defense from 2006, Reed was frustrating quarterbacks by always choosing that the ball. After the Ravens had the ’s top defense to the 2nd time in team history, Eric Weddle has been quarterbacking the defense along with helping disguise coverages.

By Reed’s death in 2013 into Weddle’s arrival in 20-16, struggled at getting a difference-maker at that area. The Ravens went through nine starting safeties, missing in free agency (Michael Huff, James Ihedigbo and Kendrick Lewis) and at the draft (Matt Elam and Terrence Brooks).

The Ravens demonstrably made the decision that substituting Weddle, who had been cut last week, was a top priority. They’d spare no cost in the previous point of defense, specially with Odell Beckham Jr. And also A.J. Green making big plays at the division and also Ben Roethlisberger still throwing deep down field.

The $32 million guaranteed may be your most ever awarded by into a completely free agent from another team.

The accession of Thomas matches a leadership void. The Ravens had handed the mantle of chief on shield from Ray Le into Reed into Suggs. It was supposed to be Mosley’s turn , however, the Ravens weren’t going to break the bank onto an inside linebacker. Instead, Thomas becomes the new voice of a defense that has dominated teams for just 2 years.

Thomas also will make quarterbacks — that the Ravens play Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Russell Wilson along with Deshaun Watson this season — think hard about casting deep. Thomas’ 28 interceptions are the third most in the as 2010.

The apparent issues with Thomas are age and health. He’ll turn 30 in May and it has missed 19 games over the past few seasons later enduring two breaks in his leg.

The Ravens privately enjoy this Thomas has an edge and will play with something to prove. Following many questions surfaced against the losses on defense the past two days, thinks that it provided that a bold answer by landing Thomas.

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