In Ozzie We Trust!

Ozzie The Wizard 600

I met a guy, randomly, this weekend in South Carolina and when I found out he was from Baltimore and also a Ravens fan, we both instantly looked at each other and said “In Ozzie We Trust!” (Coincidentally, today is Ozzie’s birthday – Happy Birthday, Wizard of Oz!)

The Ravens had just signed wide receiver Steve Smith and it was one of those contracts that just makes you wonder how Ozzie does it. Before Smith could go meet with New England, Seattle or other potential suitors, the Ravens signed him to a three-year, $11.5-million contract with a $3.5-million signing bonus. It breaks down to this… Smith is scheduled to receive his signing bonus plus a $1 million base salary in 2014 for a total of $4.5 million; he’ll receive $3 million in 2015; and $3 million in 2016 plus a $1 million option bonus if he plays 60% of the snaps. Those are great numbers for a top-notch wide receiver.

Earlier in the day, Ozzie re-signed a key member of the Ravens defense, in Daryl Smith, to a four-year, $16.1-million contract. Once again, it’s a good contract for the Ravens and their cap situation.

Prior to signing Smith and Smith, the Ravens also re-signed Jacoby Jones to another very cap-friendly deal. According to our own cap guru Brian McFarland, Jones has base salaries of $1M in 2014 and $2.5M in 2015, 2016 & 2017. His signing bonus would be $3.5M, so he should only have a 2014 Cap number of $1.875M.

Don’t forget the Ravens also re-signed Terrell Suggs and Dennis Pitta this offseason. Ozzie is simply a genius when it comes to signing players and staying under the cap. He was willing to let Eugene Monroe walk and test the market, because he did not want to pay him $11.654 million, which is what he would have made if the Ravens had used the Franchise Tag on him. Ozzie surveyed the land and saw he had a chance to re-sign him for less. Since then, the Ravens have signed not only Monroe, but Jones, D. Smith, S. Smith, Albert McClellan and Jeromy Miles all to contracts for a total of just $11.595 million… that’s six players for less than what the Franchise Tag would have been for Monroe (per Brian McFarland).

That is why Ozzie Newsome is simply the best in the business. After all the work that he has done this week alone in filling some major holes for the team, the Ravens are still about $9 million under the Salary Cap. That’s plenty of cap space left to right a right tackle, a safety, and maybe another O-line guy.

I think they can get a crucial right tackle from free agency at the start of training camp, as they’ve done before on the last round of veteran cuts. They might also find a safety there. More than likely, you’ll see the Ravens draft a wide receiver, running back, secondary help and offensive line guys.

Heck, they might even find another lead blocker for their backs. It appears on old friend wants to come “home”.

It’s crazy to think that right before free agency started, the Ravens had several priorities… so far nearly all of them have been taken care of. Re-signing their own guys was important… Monroe and Daryl Smith were crucial. Strengthening the wide receiver position was key, and Jones and Smith will help.

If I had to rate the first week of the new NFL year for the Ravens, I would give it an A. The only way it would have been better would have been to keep Arthur Jones, but they just didn’t have the resources to pay him what he was worth. But I have no doubt the Ozzie and his staff will find another late-round gem to fill in the holes. Plus, they will want their young guys to be the “next man up,” whether it be Arthur Brown, DeAngelo Tyson, Chykie Brown, or Asa Jackson.

While many in Baltimore don’t agree with trading away Anquan Boldin for a 6th round pick, Ozzie continues to prove year in and year out why he truly is a Hall-of-Fame General Manager, and why so many believe in the theory of “In Ozzie We Trust”.

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About Joe Polek

Joe Polek
Joe Polek was born in Baltimore, MD, and was raised in Bel Air, MD. In 2001, he moved to Portland, Maine for a job in radio. In 2012, he moved to Columbia, SC for another gig in radio, where he currently resides with his wife, Nicole, and their two daughters....more

5 Raves on “In Ozzie We Trust!

  1. Joshua on said:

    You really have to give Ozzie credit. He’s taken care of every key free agent priority, while adding some much-needed attitude in Steve Smith. What really has me excited is, with Monroe and Steve Smith in the fold, we’ve allowed ourselves a ton of flexibility in this year’s draft. Now, I won’t mind if we decide to take a defensive player in the first round.

  2. seatraveller on said:

    Ozzie had a bad year last year. The team as it currently stands is weaker than the one that finished last year 8-8. Finding a new center (and it’s getting close to being too late) is critical. Right tackle is also a huge need. We drafted the wrong safety last year and now have to have another, totally screwed up at center and on Boldin. Ozzie has a fatal flaw in that he doesn’t sign his good young players earlier when they are more affordable. thus you get the Jason Browns. Krugers, and Arthur Jones.

  3. scott on said:

    You’re right, seatraveller, it was amazing to see Kruger put the Browns on his back and lead them to the Super Bowl last year with his 18 sacks, 15 forced fumbles and 96 solo tackles. If only Ozzie had matched the $40M the Browns gave him (never mind that would have meant no Elvis Dumervil, no Daryl Smith, no Chris Canty, and probably some more cuts). The GENIUS of Ozzie is that he drafted Art Jones at the bottom of the 5th round and paid him peanuts for four years. Fred is right — we have another potential bargain in Kapron-Lewis (6th rounder who fell in the draft due to a college injury just like Art Jones did in 2010) ready to step up in Art’s spot, and who knows that the coaches see in Brandon Williams, Rick Wagner, Asa Jackson, Omar Brown, and Ryan Jensen. Sometimes it takes a couple of years for solid players to find their way.

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