NFL Free Agency: What Signing Lardarius Webb Means for the Baltimore Ravens

John Jenkins@jjenksIIContributor IIIApril 5, 2012

The Ravens secured their future by extending Lardarius Webb.
The Ravens secured their future by extending Lardarius Webb.Elsa/Getty Images

On Thursday, the Baltimore Ravens signed restricted free-agent corner back Lardarius Webb to a six-year, $50 million contract, which includes a $10 million signing bonus, according to The Baltimore Sun

The Ravens had a first-round tender on Webb prior to the new contract, which would have guaranteed him $2.73 million next season.

According to The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec on Twitter, the new contract has little effect on the Baltimore Ravens' salary cap:

(It does) virtually nothing.  His new cap number is pretty much the same as it would have been if he played (the) season under (the) 1st round tender.

Lardarius Webb has become one of the best young corners in the game.  Webb was a big reason why the Ravens were ranked fourth overall in pass defense.  For the season, he had five interceptions and 20 pass defenses to go along with 68 tackles. 

Webb was also the Ravens' best punt returner, a position they still hope to upgrade this offseason.

Webb is another example of how well Baltimore drafts.  He was a third-round draft pick in the 2009 NFL draft, which also netted the Ravens starting right tackle Michael Oher and the likely starting outside linebacker Paul Kruger in the first and second round, respectively.

Webb was considered a character risk.  He was dismissed from Southern Miss after violating team rules and subsequently transferred to Nicholls State. 

Webb rewarded the Ravens with stellar play since coming to the NFL, tying a franchise postseason record by intercepting two passes in one game (first-round playoff game against Houston).

The Ravens now feature three young corners who figure to contribute greatly to their success.  Cary Williams, last season's first-round pick Jimmy Smith and Webb make for a formidable defensive backfield, particularly when combined with veterans Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard. 

The NFL has become a passing league, and the Ravens have countered by extending a young corner who appears to have better years ahead.