LETTERS 2 TL: AD’s Days Seem To Be Winding Down in B’more

Lombardi's Way LETTERS 2 TL: AD’s Days Seem To Be Winding Down in B’more

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SCALPEL
 
Tony,
 
I hear 2 different stories about if the Ravens cut Jamal Lewis that would free up enough money to franchise Adalius. I have heard on various sports shows that would not free up enough money but the Sun paper says it would. 
 
I feel to franchise tag AD would only cause him to become even more disenfranchised towards the Ravens than he his now. They have been enjoying a bargain for the last 2 years.
 
Who would I cut to sign AD and why? Two players: Jamal Lewis and Keydrick Vincent or Edwin Mulitalo. Jamal is not the Jamal of old. Two years of sub par Jamal performances has showed that. Keydrick Vincent and Edwin: Both have been injury prone for the last 2 years. In the beginning of the season the offensive line was not suspect but was not blowing people away the way they were at the end of the season when they had that streak of games without surrendering a sack. That streak was set with both above mentioned out with injuries.
 
Ray Lewis would be the one player I would cut if I was limited to one. The Ravens would take a PR hit by doing so but I feel they will take one should they lose AD as well. The 2 years that Ray was out hurt for an extended period of time his fill ins both put up the comparable numbers in tackles. Ray is not the spring chicken he used to be. Adalius is more versatile and has more years left in him than Ray. I feel between Scott, Thomas and Mike Smith the only presence of Ray which would be missed may be a locker room presence.
 
Jim Breakwell
 
Jim,
 
The Ravens do not want to manage the club in such a way that the proverbial window of opportunity opens and closes every 3 or 4 years.  They wish to keep that window open so that they can compete each season.  And if the club continues to draft as effectively as they have in the past, it becomes difficult to keep all of their homegrown players for extended periods given the presence of the salary cap.
 
Therefore tough decisions will need to be made regarding the club’s personnel.  The Patriots make those types of decisions without a blink of an eye. One of those decisions for the Ravens looms with AD and ironically, the Patriots could be the team that scoops up the versatile backer.
 
From what I’m told, AD is looking for Ed Reed, Chris McAlister, Ray Lewis kind of money.  And while one could argue that he’s worth that money today, will he be in 3 years?  What if AD gets a $15-18 million signing bonus and the contract is structured for 5 years and he’s only effective for 3 of those seasons?  That becomes a drag on your future cap management and suddenly those windows start to close.
 
There’s no question that the Ravens need to get younger at linebacker and I would be shocked if they don’t get an inside backer in the draft.  They will also have to hope that they can get some return on their Dan Cody investment.  Bringing back back Jarret Johnson coupled with with Bart Scott can smooth out the edges from an expected loss of AD.
 
Releasing Ray is not an option.  Doing so would provide about $3.4 million in cap relief but Ray’s leadership and his productivity would be sorely missed by a team with Super Bowl aspirations.  Such a move could have reverberating negative effects. 
 
Jettisoning Mulitalo would represent only minor cap relief.  Considering his team first attitude as well as his friendship with Jonathan Ogden, cutting Mulitalo is probably not the way to go.  Plus he is still a serviceable lineman who provides nice depth at the interior line position. Vincent on the other hand could be in jeopardy.  If the Ravens cut him loose, he could save them about $1.6 M against the cap.  At the very least, they should get Vincent to reduce his 2007 base from $1.6M.  Mike Flynn could be asked to do the same. He’s due $2M in ’07.
 
One thing is a near certainty.  If Jamal Lewis returns, it will be at a significantly reduced number.  Cutting him prior to March 2 will provide the Ravens with $8.3M in cap relief.
 
How do you spell relief?
 
TL
 
D-MASE HEADED TO ANOTHER PLACE?
 
Dear Tony,
 I read with great interest, the two pages that Joe Platania wrote [in Press Box] about the Ravens off season. Very thought provoking for sure….

What caught my eye was his piece that Derrick Mason could be a cap casualty and that the Ravens organization does not like to be criticized…Derrick sure did his share.  The thing is… he was right!!! In my opinion, we could have used his skills like the Colts used Joseph Addai against us in the playoff loss to the Colts.  Derrick shows up every day ready to play. Billick made choices that I did not care for nor did 70,000 other fans that day; so I ‘m not alone…..

I’d blow up the Offensive line! If they plan on letting Jamal go, and get a FAST OUTSIDE RB, you need the likes of Jason Brown, Chris Chester, Brian Rimpf, etc. Let’s go with the younger more agile O-Linemen and keep Tony Pashos.

Harry O, Sykesville

 
Harry,

I’m not sure I buy into the thinking that the Ravens don’t like to be criticized.  If anything, I think Steve Bisciotti welcomes objective criticism.  I think he invites it with the ultimate goal being organizational progress.

 
What about Ray Lewis’ rants last year?  Wasn’t that criticism?  Ed Reed certainly had some choice things to say to the Ravens’ organization in Hawaii about their inability to get a deal done with AD.
 
The fact of the matter is that sometimes things are said in the heat of the moment that are emotional reactions to events.  When cooler heads prevail more appropriate responses are made.  The Ravens understand that some of their players are passionate and Mason is one of them.  They get it.  They even listen.  Why do you think Jim Fassel was let go?

As for Mason being a cap casualty, that won’t happen.  To release Mason would cost the Ravens $4.2 million in cap space that they don’t have.  Besides, they need Mason and I for one don’t mind him coming in with a chip on his shoulder if it means the offense will improve. 

Regarding the O-Line, I don’t expect a blow up but I do expect changes and Pashos could be one of them.  The Ravens will not overpay for Pashos who is viewed within the organization as an average tackle with a great work ethic.  The price tag for that is to be determined.

 
Stay tuned,
 
TL
 
RAVENS FANS GET IT
 
Tony,

Like most Ravens fans, I’d love to see Adalius Thomas back in purple.  

I’ve been surprised and impressed how many of the fans I talk to who seem to grasp that the team cannot and should not mortgage the future, however, to bring him back.  

Many seem resigned to seeing him get a better offer elsewhere once free agency begins.

But it begs the question, “Why would the Ravens be willing to let him walk so easily to another team — like New England, or San Francisco, or Green Bay — where they have a better salary cap situation to out bid the Ravens?”

And I am not simply suggesting they put the franchise tag on A.D. and pay him $7+ million in ’07 to keep him tied up.  

That may not be what’s best for the team or the player.

However, they could opt to do what the Jets did with John Abraham this time last year.  They could franchise A.D. and let Bus Cook work out a long term deal with another team, and then trade A.D. to that team for draft consideration.  

Maybe not the type of first round compensation that the Jets turned into Nick Mangold.  But perhaps A.D. could net the Ravens a second round pick. And that’s better than any compensatory pick–if any–they’ll get for him in 2008.  

Right?

Unless:

1) They think the market for A.D. is soft and they still have a chance of signing him for the initial money they offered him. And that’s a better outcome than a draft pick they could get in-trade.

2) The market is soft and they may not get a decent trade offer, so they could instead get stuck paying him the franchise dollars in 2007–dollars they may not be able to afford.

3) They feel like they owe it to A.D. to get the maximum contract, and a sign-and-trade diminishes his value.

What do you think, Tony?  

Why aren’t we hearing about tagging and trading A.D.?

Steve Hasler

 
Steve,
 
Last week I suggested a tag and trade scenario for AD, sending him to the Redskins in exchange for Clinton Portis.  Not that I think the Ravens should do that – I don’t.  I simply used it as an example of a way for the Ravens to get some value from the expected loss of AD as you explain above.  You can read more in this artice entitled A CONSOLATION PRIZE.   
  
Why haven’t the Ravens done that yet? 
 
All of the factors you have pointed out may be influencing the Ravens actions or lack thereof with AD.  Personally I wouldn’t define the market for AD as "soft."  Many teams have ample cap room and could use help from a multi-faceted All Pro on and off the field.  Several times I’ve compared AD to Julian Peterson (statistics below). Peterson signed a 7 year, $55 million contract last year with the Seahawks that included $18.5 million in bonuses.
 
Peterson will be 29 when the season starts.  AD will be 30, just 11 months Peterson’s senior.  Both have played 7 seasons but one could argue that AD has more gas in the tank since he played a lot less than Peterson early in their respective careers.
 
Plus the market for impact defenders shrunk this week when the franchise tag was applied to Lance Briggs, Assante Samuel and Justin Smith.  On Monday the Colts applied the tag to Dwight Freeney who by the way, has 3 ½ fewer sacks than AD over the last 2 seasons.
 
So with all that said, I don’t see why the Ravens don’t attempt a tag and trade by releasing Jamal Lewis in order to create the cap room until the trade is made.  It will be interesting to see if AD like other defenders that have left the Ravens, are a product of a system or if their skills will produce similar results elsewhere.
 
Here’s to AD and his future!
 
Thanks for the memories,
 
TL
 
OH DONNIE
 
TL,
 
Do you think there is any chance that the Ravens hire Donnie [Henderson] in some capacity? Donnie is a great coach and a first class guy. 
 
Thanks,
 
Jeff Poling
 
Jeff,
 
It’s possible although unlikely.  You may recall that the Ravens brought Mike Nolan on board here as a receivers coach initially, knowing that Marvin Lewis would one day depart to become a head coach.  They sort of parked Nolan on the staff. 
 
The Ravens could do the same with Henderson but keep in mind that they brought on Vic Fangio last year and they have him on staff as a consultant of sorts.  Fangio is a low-key X’s and O’s type whereas Henderson is an emotionally charged, high energy coach.  Word is Billick prefers the former.
 
Word Up,
 
TL 
 
REX GETS HEAD COACHING JOB…IN B’MORE
 
Hi Tony:
 
Rex Ryan being turned down by the Chargers could work to Baltimore’s advantage in two ways – we get at least one more season of his expertise as defensive coordinator and, just maybe, he could hang around long enough to be Billick’s successor in a couple of years, if not sooner!  It would certainly be an easy transition and, the players love the guy!
 
Any thoughts?
 
Jerry Brotman
 
Jerry,
 
Nice thought, if it could only be so easy.  While it would be nice to see Ryan as Billick’s successor, I don’t think that the timing will work unless of course Billick’s team fails miserably next year.  But then again if that happens, maybe Rex is less desirable and both are around in 2008 which has been reported by some to be the last year of Billick’s contract.
 
Ryan is a very down to earth guy who loves his players and the feelings are mutual.  What might we all think if Ryan does become the head coach one day in Baltimore and he guides a team characterized by a potent offense and a struggling defense?  We only need to look to Billick and Marvin Lewis to see the irony of the NFL at its best.
 
Here’s to the ReX-Men,
 
TL
 
*******
AD’s stats are in purple, Peterson’s in teal.
 
Year
Tackles
Pass Def
Sacks
FF
INT
TD’s
2000
46
10
4
0
2
0
2000
1
0
0
0
0
0
2001
52
3
3
0
0
0
2001
28
8
4
3
0
0
2002
96
7
2
2
1
0
2002
41
8
3
1
2
1
2003
95
12
7
2
2
0
2003
53
6
4
1
0
0
2004
27
2
3
2
0
0
2004
64
5
8
4
1
0
2005
83
6
3
1
0
0
2005
84
5
9
4
2
1
2006
89
5
10
1
1
0
2006
83
6
11
0
1
1
 
Adalius Thomas DOB:     08-18-77
Julian Peterson DOB:     07-28-78

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, Guinness, Orange Crushes and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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