The Baltimore Ravens revamped the safety position in the offseason, starting with the free agent signing of Marcus Williams and having Kyle Hamilton fall into their lap at No. 14 in the first round. Williams and Hamilton are expected to form one of the top safety tandems in the NFL, leaving a valuable piece of the Ravens defense searching for playing time.
Chuck Clark has been a good starter for Baltimore for a number of years, finishing with 80 tackles, two interceptions, and a sack in 16 games last season (all starts). Clark has started all 32 games he played over the last two seasons, yet that streak will be put in jeopardy if he remains in Baltimore.
Head coach John Harbaugh has plans to keep Clark around, despite a potential decrease in playing time.
“The idea is to have as many good players as you can have and have them in the right spots and the right role,” Harbaugh said Friday. “I love the fact that we have very versatile players in the backend and at safety. So, to me, Chuck is a big part of this team, and I’m planning on Chuck being here.
“I’m not going to worry about all the other stuff. The other stuff is the other stuff. It’s part of pro football, I understand it. But I love Chuck Clark, I love the way he plays, and I’m very happy that he’s a Raven.”
Clark has been with the Ravens since he was a sixth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, making 46 starts in 79 games played over the past five seasons. Opposing quarterbacks targeting Clark had an 81.6 passer rating targeting him as the primary defender last year, as he allowed them to complete 67.4% of their passes and four touchdowns. Last year was Clark’s worst season in coverage playing over 100 coverage snaps, as opposing quarterbacks had just a 71.6 passer rating targeting him in 2019 and a 69.5 rating in 2020.
The Ravens gave up the most passing yards in the NFL last season, so revamping the secondary was expected. Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters are back at cornerback after injury-plagued seasons in 2021. Humphrey missed five games (pectoral muscle tear) and Peters missed the entire season (ACL). At safety, Clark and DeShon Elliott opened the year, but Elliott went to injured reserve in November with a torn pectoral muscle and torn biceps. Elliott signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency.
Where the Ravens put Clark in their defense will be an intriguing storyline in the summer, as teams that need safety help will likely be calling for his services. Right now, the Ravens don’t appear to be moving him.