Much is being made these days of what the Ravens will do with Joe Flacco and Ed Reed. Well, lets cut to the chase as the Ravens don’t have that many players who one would say are “must sign” for the future of this team.
These are the only players at this time that one could argue are vital to the Ravens. Cary Williams is not vital, mostly because the Ravens just paid $50 million to their pro bowl caliber corner Lardarius Webb this past offseason.
So who do you keep? Joe Flacco is must. People can complain about the money he is going to make but the fact of the matter is you have to look at supply (low) and demand (high) of the position. That’s why Mark Sanchez makes 14 million a year on average.
You do the math.
Ed Dickson hasn’t improved as much as you’d like to see from a third round pick. They need to upgrade this position through the draft and add a third TE that can block while also being a good receiver. Historically the Ravens have not invested much in the third TE spot. That should change in the draft.
Ed Reed is a must as well. A two to three year deal would not impact the Ravens much as they don’t have anyone else in the coming years other than a Torrey Smith who would demand much money.
Ed Reed is still a top 5 safety in football and I could argue that there are not three better than him right now.
Paul Kruger is going to get attention in free agency. I’m a fan of Kruger but not at a high price.
Dannell Ellerbe is going to attract some suitors as well. But the problem with this is the Ravens already paid Jameel McClain this past offseason and with his lack of production this year McClain could be cut.
Ellerbe and Kruger are good players but one would have to be concerned as to why they are finally producing in the last year of their contracst. You can’t keep all the players so the organization will to make a choice.
Ray Lewis is a wild card. I for one think the Ravens would be dumb to mess with Ray in terms of cutting him. They don’t know the disaster that would be in front of them if they did. The locker room can be a big issue at that point. Besides, the Ravens haven’t shown that much loyalty to their players in the past cutting fan favorites like Todd Heap, Kelley Gregg and Derrick Mason for example. Now, production matters. But, Ray Lewis will be treated like any other player in some cases, but if the Ravens are smart, they let him make his own decision.
The rookie cap will help the Ravens greatly and how they upgrade certain positions through the draft will prove to be cost effective.