Ravens' Lardarius Webb says he's a safety but his contract does not

For the first time, Lardarius Webb acknowledged his future with the Baltimore Ravens is at free safety and not cornerback.

"We're trying to become a more athletic secondary," Webb said. "Me at free safety, I think that will help out a lot with me roaming the middle of the field and just being able to have more control of the defense."

Webb played the most snaps of his seven-year NFL career at safety in Sunday's season finale, and coach John Harbaugh indicated recently that Webb is better suited to line up at safety than outside cornerback.

There's only one problem. Actually, there are $9.5 million problems, to be specific.

Webb is playing under a contract signed when he was a cornerback and not a safety. His $9.5 million cap number in 2016 would rank third among NFL safeties, behind New Orleans' Jairus Byrd and Seattle's Earl Thomas.

Byrd has gone to three Pro Bowls and Thomas has been named to three All-Pro teams. Webb has made one career start at safety. It doesn't really make sense, does it?

Webb's announcement that he sees himself as a safety is quite a reversal. In November, he said a move to safety wouldn't happen until much later in his career.

“Maybe when I get old,” said Webb, who turned 30 during the season. “I’m not old yet, though."

If the Ravens decide Webb's best position is safety, they will have to bump someone out of the starting lineup or reduce someone's snaps. Will Hill and Kendrick Lewis, Baltimore's starting safety tandem for most of the season, are both signed through the 2016 season. The Ravens also have plenty of depth at safety with former first-round pick Matt Elam, Terrence Brooks, Anthony Levine and Brynden Trawick.

Baltimore, though, wants to increase interceptions. The Ravens picked off an NFL-low six passes in 2015. Putting someone with ball skills like Webb at safety could help boost turnovers.

The Ravens just have to determine whether the price is right to make that move. It would be a good story if Webb, who looked up to Ed Reed before joining the Ravens, ended up playing the same position as Reed. But Webb's cap number in 2016 would be $1 million more than Reed's cap figure in his last season in Baltimore ($8.5 million).

Team officials could ask Webb to take another pay cut. In March, he reduced his 2016 base salary by $2.5 million. It's unknown whether Webb would lower his $5.5 million even more to play safety in Baltimore.

"Safeties are making all of the calls, all the checks. You just have to be more into it," Webb said. "Everybody is waiting on me to make the check at safety. So basically, you are in control of the defense. I like that part. I'm getting older, I've been more of a leader and [at] safety, it helps a lot."