The release of Bernard Pollard to save no more than $1M in cap dollars has left many scratching their heads – some in shock.
The league is changing and the days when teams can overlook poor coverage skills from their strong safety provided he’s a thumper and can play in the box are over. This is the new NFL, dominated by passing.
If you need proof of Pollard’s weak coverage skills, go back and watch Super Bowl XLVII. He almost single-handedly lost the game for the Ravens. The expression, “He couldn’t cover a corpse with a blanket” comes to mind.
The Ravens are making a serious push to get younger and faster on defense. Ellerbe was a fit for the new modus operandi but he was too expensive. Pollard isn’t. Brendon Ayanbadejo and Jameel McClain might soon find out the hard way as well.
But back to Pollard, let’s not easily dismiss that he’s also a penalty machine. With the league’s increasingly annoying attention to physical hits, even those that really aren’t helmet-to-helmet, the yellow laundry flies even more frequently and at some point you have to wonder when Roger Goodell will step in with a suspension for the emotionally charge journeyman safety.
And with the defensive emphasis on younger and faster, you have to wonder where Ed Reed fits in. Clearly those descriptive terms don’t match the direction of Reed’s career. Without Reed patrolling centerfield, Pollard’s substandard cover skills become an even bigger liability.
As for Reed, the All-World free safety is now feeling what Ray Lewis felt a few years back. His resume doesn’t translate to dollars.
Reed still views himself as elite and is deliriously hoping for a contract that averages in the range of what Dashon Goldson (5 years, $41.25M, Tampa) or Laron Landry (4 years, $24M, Indianapolis) recently signed for.
That’s not happening and with the Landry signing, it removes a BIG potential landing spot for Reed. Think about it this way…
If Chuck Pagano, the coach who recruited the New Orleans native out of high school doesn’t want Reed for the Benjamins he seeks opting instead for Landry (who is hardly a choir boy) AND Jim Harbaugh reportedly preferring Charles Woodson over Reed in San Francisco, where does that leave the Ravens’ sure-fire Hall of Famer?
Baltimore with his tail tucked between his legs, accepting what he will surely view as a less than worthy contract?
Or maybe, the prideful Reed, not really needing the money, might just retire after all.
Count me among those hoping for the later.