Free Agent Anger

Featured, Sports and Bets — February 8, 2013 at 2:23 pm by

Man, it is tough work being a football fan.  The Baltimore Ravens have been champions for 5 damn days and already I’ve start thinking about next year.  I can’t even enjoy a freakin’ Super Bowl win for more than five days without worrying about whether Ed Reed will finish his career here in  Baltimore or  New England.  And who will the Ravens sign Dannell Ellerbe or  Paul Kruger?   Will the Ravens bring back Bryant McKinnie or move Michael Oher back to left tackle?  Will the Ravens be able to match any offer made to Dennis Pitta? It goes on and on.  I mean I lie awake at night thinking about this shit.  It’s ridiculous.  But it is also part of the reason that the NFL is so great.  Because of the salary cap teams become a victim of their own success.  Winning teams are forced to let go of some of the highly talented players that made them successful.  The Ravens, as evidenced by  what keeps my dumb-ass awake at night, are no exception.  It is the nature of the beast, and it makes me furious.

These following players are the most high-profile of all the Ravens’ free agents.  Pitta, Dickson and Jones are all restricted, which means the Ravens can match any offer these three players receive from other teams.  The others are all unrestricted which means they are free to sign with anyone.  For the record, I would love to be able to keep all these guys, but the possibility of that happening are none, forget slim. So here we go.

QB Joe Flacco…..Cool Joe is the Ravens’ number one priority.  No shit.  Everyone knows this, and everyone knows that Joe will sign on to stay here. The real question is when.  The Ravens can’t afford to franchise the Super Bowl MVP and take a $14 million salary cap hit next year.  Which means they have a month to get a long term deal done.  The beauty of the long term deal is that you can spread the money out over the length of the contract.  This will allow for cap room for next year, which the Ravens desperately need.  So look for Joe to sign his $120 million deal over the next week and a half.  Once they get this done the Ravens can turn their attention to everyone else.

LB Dannell Ellerbe…..We love Ellerbe here at charmcitywire.  After Joe we think he should be the Ravens’ top priority.  His versatility and speed are essential to this line-backing corp.  Going into next year, the Ravens will probably feel pretty good with Jameel McClain and Ellerbe holding down the middle linebacker positions.

LT Bryant McKinnie…..Coach Harbaugh, we know deep down inside you hate this guy.  We don’t know why, but you just do.  You swallowed your pride in the post-season and you need to do it again for next year.  Without McKinnie the offensive line is distinctly average.  With him they are a top 10 unit.  Why give Flacco 100 million if you can’t protect your investment?  McKinnie probably won’t cost much more than you paid him this year.  There are several other LT’s that may become free agents but the Ravens can’t afford any of  them.  (Jake Long would cost a fortune, for example.)  But McKinnie is going to be 34, and 34 year old offensive linemen don’t normally command huge contracts.  #78 seems to be a big talent at a decent price, and he may be the Ravens only realistic option.

FS Ed Reed…..The greatest safety of all time is free to go wherever he wants.  He says he wants to stay in Baltimore, but if some random team throws him $12-14 million for two years, how can he say no?  The Ravens will try to get him cheaper, but if the dollars come calling I don’t see him sticking around.  Hopefully the Ravens can keep him, but i don’t see it.

LB Paul Kruger…..This former second rounder really came into his own this year and led the team in sacks.  But questions remain about his run defense and I don’t see any way for the Ravens to afford him.  Sacks mean money, and with the Ravens up against the salary cap, Kruger gets paid elsewhere.  It’s a shame because it would have been great to see him combined with a healthy T Sizzle on the other side next year.

CB Cary Williams…..When Williams turned down the Ravens offer earlier this season it spelled trouble for the future of the secondary.  But enter Corey Graham. With Graham’s emergence Williams becomes expendable.  Lardarius Webb should make his return next season, and the Ravens have got to hope that Jimmy Smith makes that next step.  Williams played very well in the mid to late portion of the season, and especially the playoffs, but he simply will command too much money to make sense for Baltimore.

TE Dennis Pitta…..Priority.  This player, along with Ellerbe and McKinnie, is one we feel the Ravens should lock up.  He is one of Flacco’s favorite targets, not to mention Joe’s best friend on the team.  If he gets an outside offer, the Ravens have got to match it.  I think the Ravens will sit down with Pitta and lock him up long term.  This would benefit the cap, and take the pressure off the Ravens having to match some crazy offer.  Look for Pitta to be locked up soon.

TE Ed Dickson…..It would be nice to keep both of these talented tight ends.  Dickson had two really nice catches in the Super Bowl and has shown flashes of brilliance during his tenure here.  Dickson has also proven a decent run blocker.  Hopefully his restricted status keeps him safely here for at least another year.

DT Arthur Jones….Also a restricted free agent, Jones may get some looks from other teams.  I think the Ravens feel this guy is signable long term and will fight to keep him.  Jones played really well late in the year, and was an extremely valuable part of the defensive line rotation.  Look for Jones to remain here.

So brace yourself Ravens’ fans.  The Ravens have got some work to do.  Some of your favorites will be gone, but Ozzie always seems to get it right.



One Comment

  1. I agree with you on Ellerbe. I also think the McKinnie doghouse may have been Cam. Is it coincidence he entered the lineup after they canned him? Krueger is gone. If you watch the Superbowl again he is not in the game that much. Carey Williams won’t be back either. With Webb coming back and Brown and Grahm emerging we don’t need him.

    Reed is a tough one. He was hard to watch in a lot of games this year. Bad tackling and out of position all the time. But he was so money in the playoffs. He stayed at home and tackled it was awesome.

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