In Free Agency Patience Has Its Rewards

Dumervil Introduction

The beginning of NFL free agency is one of the most exciting parts of the offseason. With legal tampering now in place, there is always a frenzy of activity as soon as the whistle blows.

The Ravens and their fans were in an unfamiliar place this offseason heading into the new league year– no playoffs in 2013, and an ample amount of cap space.

The ample cap space, while not the norm, was exciting. Ozzie and the front office finally had enough money at their disposal to find a playmaker, and retain some of their own key guys.

As far as top tier receivers were concerned, there were none. Sure they could have gone after Eric Decker and overpaid him the way the Jets did, but they knew better.

Instead they found a proven guy who has consistently shown he can be a difference maker. Steve Smith was the right player at the right price.

As far as their own free agents go, they did about as good a job as they could. They identified their priorities and kept most of them.

Now that the dust has settled and the frenzy has calmed, they’ve emerged looking pretty smart. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone. But with the less exciting wave of free agency now underway, this is when Ozzie does his best work.

The first two weeks of free agency are like the first two rounds of a fantasy draft. They are the most exciting and the fastest. The big names come off the board first, some too soon and at a higher price than they should.

Talk to anyone who has won a fantasy league championship or two though, and they’ll tell you that winning teams are built in the middle and later rounds. When some guys at the draft start to lose focus or have a few too many beers, that’s where championships are built.

Finding high value guys in the later rounds is what makes or breaks your fantasy season.

While it may not be the most exciting, NFL teams are now entering what’s comparable to the middle rounds of a fantasy draft. The big names are gone, but there are still plenty of quality players who need a home.

Looking at the past few off seasons, some of the biggest additions have come in the later stages of free agency for the Ravens.

In 2012 Corey Graham was signed in late March after sitting on the market for a couple of weeks. His deal was for 2 years at just over $4 million. This turned out to be great value for a player who made key contributions and played a big role in the Ravens Super Bowl run.

A couple of weeks later they came to terms with Jacoby Jones. His deal was for two years $7 million. His game changing plays have been the difference in several key wins, including Super Bowl XLVII.

Last year the Ravens found Daryl Smith still on the market in June. Smith was signed to a one-year deal for just over $1 million. He may be the best example of how well Ozzie can identify these types of players. You could argue he was the best defensive player on the field for the Ravens last year.

While the first couple weeks of free agency are important and exciting, the later phases are just as important for the future and long-term success of teams.

Luckily for Ravens fans, Ozzie and the front office are well known for being able to identify the best of the rest.

Stay tuned.

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About Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones
Ryan Jones is a native of Belair MD and has been a Ravens fan since they came to Baltimore in 1996. He is a co-founder a Ravens Nation North, a group of displaced Ravens fans who get together every week to cheer for their home team. He is married to...more

7 Raves on “In Free Agency Patience Has Its Rewards

  1. JWS on said:

    Your kidding right? Ozzie makes many more mistakes than hits by waiting. Huff, Spears,Clark and Stokely all good exxamples of BAD reasons to wait. 0zie has real problem signing centers when he has none. Shipley was A BAD TRADE AS WAS BOLDIN, Monroealmost cost 2 picks if he was not signed and Ravens lucked out when Oakland screwwed up nad Cardinals signed the wrong left tackle. Smith had lots of tackles but few at the line of scrimage and yet re-signed for 4 years,why? we won’t even cover all his bad darft picks that far out number the few good ones that include,Oher,cody,Dickson just in recent drafts. Ozzie is a top 10 not a top 5 GM just like his QB Flacco.

      • Anonymous on said:

        Where does your bitterness come from? It almost sounds like you have a personal beef here against Ozzie.While all the points you make may be valid, you cannot look at them in isolation. Think of all the great trades he’s made and also the great picks he’s had. Leave them out and you’re just being bitter and foolish.

    • Tucker: M&T Sec 527 on said:

      You forgot Lee Evans, guys! Jeez, you’re slipping! Don’t let the past catch up to you.

      If you do, you rmght remember that Pryce and Mason p[layed well for the Ravens. The latter is the best precedent to Steve Smith, btw: I'll take a little diva and an eventual ugly separation, for a couple years of Mason-esque 3rd & 7 sideline buttonhooks. I'm not worried, Smith seems to want to play here. He had some meetings planned with other good teams w/ $ to spend.

      Ozzie knew when to show Mason & Pryce the door, maybe not somuch w/ Redding, so I don't know if you are criticizing that your FA lists were ever even signed, if they were signed too late while other better options had been out there, or if we stayed to long w/ these guys? I definitely get the negativity, but there are some good [if limited] Ravens careers on those lists.

  2. joe on said:

    Ozzy is the man. How can you ever say he’s not a top5 GM. Look aaround the league at other teams. Stop talking because you make other ravens fans look bad. I’m sure you want to cut rice and Flacco too…

  3. Nick on said:

    Hopeful Future Examples: C Will Montgomery, S Chris Clemmons
    I truly don’t think the FSs in the draft are all that impressive this year.

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