When Ravens safety Eric Weddle takes the field Sunday in Baltimore’s matchup vs. the Cleveland Browns, not only will he be fighting for his team’s spot in the playoffs, but he will also have a seven-figure incentive on the line.
FILE PHOTO: Dec 9, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) catches a pass as Baltimore Ravens free safety Eric Weddle (32) defends during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Weddle stands to earn a $1 million bonus if the Ravens advance to Week 18, something that has been part of his contract for three seasons in Baltimore.
The incentive is dependent on Weddle making the Pro Bowl and the Ravens making the playoffs in the same season. The 12-year veteran was named to his sixth Pro Bowl earlier this month, putting him halfway there. But Weddle told ESPN that the bonus would be “just icing on the cake.”
“I would trade one million bucks for a chance at the playoffs any second,” Weddle said, according to ESPN. “That’s just where I’m at. It’s not that I don’t appreciate money or how much money it is, but that’s not my incentive to try to go to win.”
Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome told Weddle about the incentive last year, and this year he and assistant GM Eric DeCosta say they have never wanted to pay $1 million to a player so badly.
Weddle missed out on cashing in last season in heartbreaking fashion.
With the Ravens needing to beat Cincinnati in Week 17 to make the playoffs, Baltimore was leading 27-24 with less than a minute to go. But Bengals QB Andy Dalton found Tyler Boyd on 4th-and-12 for a 49-yard touchdown pass and the win.
Said Weddle after the game, “I didn’t lose $1 million. I never had it to begin with, but I did lose out on a chance to win a Super Bowl. That is what I am mad about.”
The 33-year-old has played in eight playoff games but has yet to play in the Super Bowl, which is still a goal.
“I want a chance at getting to the Super Bowl. I also want everyone to experience the playoffs,” Weddle said. “That’s where my focus is. (The money is) just icing on the cake if we get it done.”
Weddle has made the Pro Bowl in each of his three seasons with Baltimore and also made it in 2011, 2013 and 2014 with the San Diego Chargers. In 15 games this season, he has recorded one sack, three passes defensed and 54 solo tackles.
—Field Level Media