Ozzie Newsome is widely considered the best General Manager in the National Football League. Some might even say he’s one of the best in all of sports. So why question his offseason moves? Just sit back, drink a Natty Boh, and let Ozzie do what he does best.
Every player the Ravens release, every single prospect the Ravens draft, and every single Free Agent the Ravens sign in the offseason, unleashes the internet GMs. Before last season, the Ravens offered Torrey Smith a reasonable 5 year $35 million contract. That’s a solid contract for a solid number two receiver.
Ravens fans are now up in arms about Torrey Smith signing with the 49ers for $5 million more than the Ravens had offered him. Some in the Ravens community called him a “traitor”, “sell out”, “overrated” and everything in between. Ravens fans need to understand it from his perspective. Let’s say you work behind a desk year round getting paid $100,000. Another company comes around and offers you the same job, but will pay $15,000 more per year. Wouldn’t you want to go work for that company as well?
That is why Torrey Smith went to the 49ers. NFL careers are short lived these days. Nobody should blame Torrey for wanting to get as much money as possible. He made a smart decision. He went to a great organization in a great area and as Ravens fans we should thank Torrey for all that he has done not just for the team but for the community. I hate to see him go but it’s time for the next man to step up.
When Haloti Ngata was traded the entire Baltimore community went silent. Then the internet GM’s logged on in full force. There were even comments on the trade saying they are no longer Ravens fans because “Ozzie is losing his mind”, according to some.
The trade freed up $8.5 million in cap space and Ozzie was able to sign back the 5th leading rusher in the entire league. Trading away Ngata couldn’t have made Ozzie feel “happy”, but it was the right business move for the future of this team. The sky is the limit for Ngata’s replacements, Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan, if they remain healthy. They stepped up in the final four games of the season when Ngata was suspended. During the suspension, the defense held starting running backs to an average of 74 yds while allowing just 1 touchdown going 3-1 to end the season.
Releasing Jacoby Jones was another smart move. He was not as much of a factor returning back kicks last season compared to his previous years with Baltimore. Owen Daniels was a solid replacement for Pitta in the time being. Many Ravens fans wanted to see Ozzie sign Daniels back but Ozzie wouldn’t pay $4 million a year for a backup-quality tight end.
McPhee might have been the biggest hit for the Ravens. Losing a pass rusher who had 7.5 sacks is going to affect the defense. But the Ravens aren’t going to give a rotational player a 5 year, $40 million contract. He may be a starter for Chicago but he’s essentially a backup here. Knowing the Ravens, a pick in this upcoming draft could replace McPhee. After all, McPhee himself was a 5th round pick. Some would say that his replacement is already on the roster in Brent Urban despite his missing last season due to a torn ACL.
Ravens fans need to understand that every single player we have lost this offseason, besides Ngata, is easily replaceable at their respective positions. They need to gain a general understanding of the salary cap (which we can help you out with here). Ozzie can’t go around signing star studded players every single offseason so stop claiming that he should.
This act of doubting the best GM in football is getting old. We have missed the playoffs one year since 2008. A lot of teams in this league wish they could even reach half of that. Like Bisciotti said, “There are a lot of teams out there that don’t spend to the cap, and we do. I’m always envious of those teams right about this time of the year, and then they’re envious of me when we are in the playoffs.”
For those fans who want to stop cheering for the Ravens because of Ozzie making a few tough roster decisions in the offseason, I say let them go. Being attached to players like Torrey Smith, Haloti Ngata, and Jacoby Jones is understandable, but losing them should not make you want to jump ship.
We are among the most passionate fan bases in football so we are going to be among the most critical. But the doubt directed toward the front office needs to stop. Time to start living up to the status of best fan base and support what Ozzie has in store for each offseason.
After all, it’s worked pretty well in the past.