In the midst of several big-name free agent rumors flying around, the Baltimore Ravens pulled off a string of outstanding under-the-radar moves to keep the core of the special teams unit in Baltimore.
The first move was re-signing ST ace Albert McClellan to a two-year $2.2 Million dollar deal to stay in Baltimore. His deal included a $400,000 signing bonus and the 27-year-old will make $1 Million in 2014, followed by $1.2 in 2015.
A former UDFA out of Marshall, McClellan has proven his worth to the Ravens as a versatile rotational LB and a key member of the special teams unit over the past three seasons. From 2011 to 2013, McClellan has recorded 35 ST tackles (80 total tackles) and a sack in Baltimore, and led the team with 12 ST tackles in 2013.
The Ravens then followed that by re-signing safety and ST star Jeromy Miles. The Ravens claimed the 26-year-old Miles off of waivers last September after he was released (bad move) by the Bengals, where he racked up 32 ST tackles from 2010 to 2012.
Miles then made an instant impact on Special Teams by recording eight ST tackles in 12 games for the Ravens, tying him for third most on the team. The former UDFA out of UMass has undoubtedly earned the title of special teams ”ace” and in just one year he proved his worth to the Ravens, so it’s great to see him come back to Baltimore for the 2014 season.
Also, the Ravens have reportedly offered tenders to ERFA’s Anthony Levine and Brynden Trawick; an excellent decision after both played a huge role on Jerry Rosburg’s unit during the 2013 season.
A UDFA out of Troy, the 24-year-old Trawick played in eight games for the Ravens in 2013 and recorded eight ST tackles, tied with Chykie Brown and Miles for third most on the team. Trawick, like Miles and Levine, could see an increase in playing time on defense in 2014 if the Ravens don’t find an immediate starter at free safety this offseason. Going into his second season, Trawick is definitely a player to keep an eye on in training camp.
After being on the Green Bay Packers practice squad in 2010 and 2011, the 26-year-old Levine was signed by Baltimore in September 2012, but was placed on the IR with a shoulder injury after just two games on the active roster.
In 2013, Levine emerged as a breakout star on teams for the Ravens and finished second on the team with 11 ST tackles. The former Tennessee State star was also the only Raven to record three ST tackles in multiple games (against the Jets and Lions) last season.
The bottom line is, the Baltimore Ravens front office did a superb job in keeping our key ST players in Baltimore. Not only did McClellan, Miles, Trawick and Levine make up four of the top five in ST tackles for the Ravens in 2013, they recorded a combined 39 of the teams 86 Special Teams tackles, or 45.3% of the teams 2013 total.
Special teams is often overlooked priority (I don’t know why), but the Ravens definitely won BIG by keeping their ”core four” on in Ravens jerseys, at least for the 2014 season. Wherever he is right now, Jerry Rosburg is surely grinning from ear to ear.
Then of course there’s that Jacoby guy.