Eric Weddle has $1 million on the line in Week 17 but would trade it for chance at playoffs 'any second'

When the Ravens host the Browns on Sunday, playoff hopes and dreams will be on the line. With a win, the Ravens will clinch the AFC North over the Steelers. You can stream the game on fuboTV (Try for free). For safety Eric Weddle, who hasn't made the playoffs since his days with the then San Diego Chargers, the significance of Sunday's game extends beyond a postseason berth. 

According to ESPN's Jamison Hensley, Weddle has a $1 million incentive built into his contract that will be triggered if he accomplishes two things this season. The first already happened: Last week, he was named to the Pro Bowl. The second can happen Sunday: The Ravens need to make the playoffs. A year ago, Weddle made the Pro Bowl, but the Ravens' playoff hopes were dashed at the last possible moment when Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton eliminated them with a late touchdown, which sent the Bills to the playoffs over the Ravens

In the lead up to Sunday's game, Weddle emphasized that he cares more about a chance to go to the playoffs than the money, saying the money is "just icing on the cake."

"I would trade one million bucks for a chance at the playoffs any second," Weddle said, per 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."

He said something last year when the Ravens came up painfully short in Week 17.

"I didn't lose $1 million. I never had it to begin with," Weddle said. "But I did lose out on a chance to win a Super Bowl. That is what I am mad about."

In Weddle's career, which began back 2007, his contract earnings have exceeded $63 million, according to Spotrac. He's played in eight playoff games, but he's never made it to the Super Bowl. While the Ravens, with a run-heavy offense with a developmental rookie quarterback in Lamar Jackson, aren't regarded as a Super Bowl favorite, they are peaking at the perfect possible moment. Since making the move to Jackson, the Ravens have gone 5-1, with their only loss coming in overtime to the Chiefs in Kansas City. Meanwhile, their defense is the league's best in terms of both yards and points allowed. As their most-recent win over Weddle's old team, the Chargers, proved, they're capable of beating anyone.

Weddle's impact shouldn't be overlooked. Since joining the Ravens in 2016, he's yet to miss a game. From 2016-17,  he racked up 10 interceptions. While he's yet to record an interception this season, he's contributed 54 solo tackles, his highest total in a Ravens uniform. The lack of takeaways has been a theme of this Ravens defense's season. As a unit, they've generated the third-fewest takeaways in football with 14. While the league's other top defense in Chicago relies on takeaways (a league-high 36), Baltimore gets the job done in a different way. 

With a win over the Browns, the Ravens will join the Bears in the playoffs, where both defenses can continue to prove that in a time of peak offensive football, defense still matters. 

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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