Kendrick Lewis started all 16 games for the Texans last season and has made 67 starts in 5 seasons in the NFL since the Chiefs drafted him in the 5th round in 2010. Given that, I’m surprised he signed in Baltimore where it’s not clear that he’ll be a starter in 2015. Will Hill is presumably locked in to one starting safety spot because of his talent, though he’s proven to be hard to trust in the past with his history of suspension and he’s technically still a restricted free agent so another team could sign him and the Ravens would have only the right of first refusal.
At the other safety spot, the Ravens have Matt Elam. Elam, a 2013 1st round pick, made all 16 starts as a rookie in 2013 and played decently, but he was a trainwreck in 2014, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 78th ranked safety out of 87 eligible on 411 snaps and getting benched mid-season for Darian Stewart. Stewart signed as a free agent in Denver this off-season and the fact that the Ravens brought in a replacement for Stewart with as much experience as Lewis has doesn’t suggest that the Ravens are confident in Elam’s long-term potential.
Not only am I surprised that Lewis went to a place like Baltimore where he wouldn’t be guaranteed a starting job. I am also surprise that he was only able to get 5.4 million over 3 years. Lewis struggled in his final 2 seasons in Kansas City in 2012 and 2013, but he bounced back last season in Houston and has now graded out above average in 3 of 5 seasons he’s been in the NFL. This is a very good value for a solid player who has a chance to make a real impact in Baltimore next season.