It would be surprising to see the Ravens exercise that option on disappointing safety Matt Elam before the May 2 deadline. There'e a good chance he'll be remembered as the biggest first-round bust in the Ravens' 20-year draft history, even surpassing quarterback Kyle Boller and wide receiver Travis Taylor.
To pick up the 2017 option, the Ravens would have to pay Elam between $5.5 million and $6 million in 2017. Last year, 12 of the 32 first-round picks in 2012 didn't get their options picked up.
Elam, the final pick of the first round in 2013, has struggled mightily covering deep passes and tackling. He lost his starting job in the middle of the 2014 season to Will Hill and never regained it.
Pro Football Focus rated him as the ninth-worst safety in 2014 after he missed 18 tackles in the regular season. He also missed another two key tackles in the divisional playoff loss at New England. In his two years with the Ravens, Elam made one interception and broke up eight passes.
Elam had his best offseason with the Ravens last year before tearing his biceps in training camp. In a telling move, the Ravens chose to place defensive end Brent Urban, who tore his biceps after Elam, on designated for return instead of Elam. Elam was later suspended one game by the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Three years ago, the Ravens thought Elam was going to fill the void left by the departure of Ed Reed. Now, Elam isn't a lock to make the team in 2016.
Baltimore addressed safety this offseason by signing free agent Eric Weddle and moving Lardarius Webb from cornerback. That means Kendrick Lewis, a starter last season, will become the team's top backup. The Ravens also have Anthony Levine, Terrence Brooks and Nick Perry.
Elam is scheduled to make $1.327 million in 2016, which will be his final year under contract unless the Ravens choose to exercise the fifth-year option.