Without a big splash, the Ravens are quiet winners thus far in the free agent scramble.
Sure there are other teams breaking the bank, the Browns and the Colts are among them. But if past free agencies serve as any indication, dropping top dollar doesn’t always guarantee success on the field.
The Ravens have taken their normal route, taking care of their own, and wading their way through choppy water. Even when it seems like the Ravens will inevitably be on the outside looking in, they end looking a lot smarter than any of us could have anticipated.
While every fan sweated the Pitta negotiations as the unfolded, hindsight reveals that there was never a doubt he’d ever be playing anywhere besides Baltimore.
The Eugene Monroe contract is another example. When the Ravens passed on the franchise tag, fans were miffed. While the designation would have cost $11.65M million in 2014, it was essential. The Ravens couldn’t risk letting Monroe walk away from a needy offensive line.
Early negotiations had the Ravens and Monroe reportedly attempting to bridge a gap between $8 and $10 million year. In the end the Ravens jsigned arguably the most talented left tackle on the market for $7.5 million a year.
Some call it luck!
I’ll give Ozzie a little more credit than that. That deal is nothing short of brilliant!
Talk about knowing the market.
While Monroe is thanking the Ravens and front office for the opportunity to continue his career in Baltimore, he is likely kicking himself for not inking his name to a contract a week ago.
If reports are accurate, rolling the dice likely cost him roughly $8 million dollars over the course of his contract.
Now that the Ravens have addressed their left tackle situation, they are most likely either shifting their focus to free safety or wide receiver.
The free safety market was very active early in free agency and the Ravens have very few options remaining. They can either target Chris Clemons who was a solid contributor for the Dolphins, or a veteran like Antonio Cromartie or Champ Bailey. Bailey and Cromartie would have to be open to the idea of making the switch to safety, which given their age they may have to do.
The market for receivers however is much cooler than anticipated. Other than news that Golden Tate will visit with the Lions, and Andre Roberts is likely to sign with Washington, it’s been quiet on the wide receiver front.
There has been little news regarding Hakeem Nicks, Eric Decker and Julian Edelman. The longer these names last in the market, the better chance there is of one of them landing in Baltimore.
While their agents were most likely hoping to land top dollar, the lull in interest will most likely diminish that expectation.
As far as the receivers are concerned, no news is good news for the Ravens.
This offseason is shaping up to look like most others for the purple and black. Re-signing Monroe and Pitta were their top priorities. Done and done.
Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess but it’s safe to say that so far Ozzie is executing his game plan with precision.
And that’s good news if you’re a Ravens fan.