The opening of the NFL new year got off to a bang as the free agency frenzy opened up on Tuesday afternoon.
The Ravens made some noise including the restructuring of veteran linebacker Terrell Suggs’ contract to gain some much needed cap space earlier in the day. They made their most noise with their announcement of trading Haloti Ngata to the Lions.
Given the high profile trade of Ngata that garnered a lot of media attention, a move that hasn’t been talked about as much is the loss of Owen Daniels, who signed a three-year deal with the Denver Broncos not long after the announcement of the Ngata news.
For the third time in his NFL career, Daniels will again be with Gary Kubiak as he joins him in Denver in his tight end friendly offense, leaving the Ravens (for now) with a huge question mark at the tight end position looking ahead to 2015.
While moves will no doubt be made with the money that was made available by releasing Ngata, keeping Daniels would have been ideal for the Ravens considering they will keep the same offensive scheme in place that was proven to be successful last season.
In 2014, Daniels saw action in 15 games (16 including postseason), including 13 starts (missed one game with a knee injury) finishing third on the team hauling in 48 receptions for 527 yards and four touchdowns. Perhaps his biggest attribute to the Ravens offense was his ability to covert first downs (32). In fact, since 2006, Daniels is fourth among active TEs in the NFL in first-down conversions (292) and percentage of first-down conversions (67.4%).
With just Dennis Pitta and Crockett Gillmore currently on the roster (team did assign Phillip SuperNaw $510,000 exclusive-rights tender), the Ravens need help drastically. The uncertainty surrounding the future of Pitta’s career and the inexperience of Gillmore and Supernaw, despite being two of best names in football, won’t scare opposing defenses.
It’s early in the free agency game and Ozzie rarely strikes first blood when chasing free agents. Instead the Wiz lays low and gets the best of the second tier players that become available via the expense of cap casualties or he will utilize the NFL draft.
Undoubtedly the front office has a plan in store after seeing this potential problem the day Pitta went down.
It just may take awhile to unfold and patience isn’t exactly my strong point.
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