New Deal Ngata Happening…Yet

Haloti Shawn Hubbard

Photo courtesy of ShawnHubbardPhoto.com

 

Perhaps one of the more understated needs of the Baltimore Ravens as they prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft is the position of defensive tackle.

The team as expected, lost Arthur Jones to free agency and now they’ll need to distribute his reps to others currently on the roster and perhaps a few who aren’t among the potential 53 – yet!

The obvious choices for more playing time are Brandon Williams and DeAngelo Tyson. Both are capable and as we’ve seen in the past, defensive line coach Clarence Brooks has a knack for developing such players. It might also help if Chris Canty steps up his game.

That said the anchor of the Ravens interior D-line is undeniably Haloti Ngata. But as we’ve seen in the past, too many snaps for the 30-year-old Ngata erodes his effectiveness and it raises concerns about his durability. Ngata has missed time in each of the past two seasons and that means the Ravens will have to acquire more depth.

And that is particularly important because the inside linebackers slated to receive the lion’s share of playing time in 2014 are Daryl Smith and Arthur Brown. Neither is viewed as a run stuffing defender and the team will need to keep the pair clean.

On Tuesday NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported that the Ravens offered a lucrative extension to Haloti Ngata to reduce his 2014 cap number and allow the former Duck to retire as a Raven.

The two sides couldn’t make it happen.

Ngata is due $8.5M in salary in both 2014 and 2015. The Ravens could have turned that salary into a bonus and extended it beyond the two years remaining on Ngata’s contract.

Chances are the guaranteed money wasn’t what Ngata wanted and that’s not unusual for a player under contract for two more years. Suggs had only one year left on his contract making it easier for the two sides to find common ground. Like Suggs in 2013, Ngata will be playing for his future in 2014.

It is interesting that Breer reported the Ngata discussions now. The Ravens have ample salary cap room to make minor free agent acquisitions from a depleted field and to sign their rookie class. So the report isn’t all that relevant to the current state of the Ravens.

However the timing of the announcement is worthy of a raised eyebrow. Breer delivered the report from team headquarters in Owings Mills on Wednesday and where do you think he got the tidbit of info?

From the team of course and it begs the question, “Why?”

Perhaps it serves as a message to Ngata and his representatives?

It would be no surprise to hear sports talk radio paint Ngata as a moderate villain using the misguided rationale that it was good for Suggs, why not Ngata.

That one additional year on his contract makes all the difference between the Ngata and Suggs situations. Next offseason, look for Ngata and the team to mimic the approach they took with Suggs.

Pernell McPhee had a very productive rookie season with 6 sacks and he was generally menacing as an interior pass rusher while redirecting the passing lanes of opposing quarterbacks. That production inspired one Ravens executive to say that had they known McPhee was that good they would have taken him in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL Draft instead of the 5th round.

His productivity fell off in 2012 while recovering from a knee injury and then he was moved to outside linebacker in 2013 where he was far less effective.

It will be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Dean Pees uses McPhee in 2014 but the bet here is that we’ll see him much more on the inside as second year linebacker John Simon earns more snaps on the outside.

Most expect Gary Kubiak’s offensive approach to be a welcomed addition for the Ravens. Last season the Ravens offense ranked 29th overall and 30th on the ground. Should the Ravens bump those numbers significantly, say in the top 12 of the league, might that be enough to issue Kubiak’s ticket out of town and into a new head coaching slot?

Some believe that if that happens the Ravens already have his successor in quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison. But such a promotion is hardly a sure bet. Dennison has a long history with Kubiak and there’s an excellent chance that the Montana native, who has spent his entire career west of the Mississippi, will leave with Kubiak.

Then the Ravens will have no choice but to ask Joe Flacco to work with his fourth coordinator in four seasons.

Today at The Castle the Ravens will host a clinic for the media with Dean Pees and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg as the keynote speakers.

Don’t you just want to know whatever happened to the coffin corner punt?

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

14 Raves on “New Deal Ngata Happening…Yet

  1. Mark on said:

    A lot of IF’s follow: IF Brady Hoke has another bad year at Michigan and gets the boot, we are likely to find out IF there is anything to the rumors of Harbaugh’s ultimate desire to be HC in Ann Arbor. IF true, Kubiak
    as HC and Dennison as OC would be a nice way to maintain some continuity after a successful 2014 season.

  2. Rxdoxx on said:

    Only thought that comes to me for needing/wanting free cap room given the present state of things is extending Torrey
    Now they may have a target not visible to us or the press yet, gotta be something in the mix somewhere besides Mr RoyalFarmsChickenMan

  3. Cheri on said:

    That is why as far as the Kubiak signing goes I thought it was a home run but not a grand slam. I am basing this on like you that he could be gone in a year and Joe would be working on another cord. again. I still wish those damn Browns didn’t hire Kyle Shanahan as I thought he would had been a perfect fit for this team in some offensive role and as a guy who could have taken over for Gary next year. Like you said, I am sure Dennison will be Gary’s offensive cord. where ever he lands next as a HC.
    Jason Laconfora is now disputing that any negotiations have taken place between the Ravens and Ngata, so who knows what’s going on there. This will come down to next season when he only has one left on his contract and like Suggs he would have to decide whether to redo his contract with the Ravens, retire as he has hinted or move on to another team because the Ravens will not be paying him a 16 million in cap again.
    In closing, I agree the Ravens for the first time in quite some time seems like they they need young blood at just about every position which we haven’t been had say that in a long time.Is this because of average to below drafting the last several years? Teams keep taking our free agents so I don’t know if it’s that but I really was hoping we would finally draft a WR in the first round (or at least 2nd round) which we haven’t done since 05 with Clayton .I’m just hoping that signing a 35 year old who is clearly at the end of his career doesn’t change the that.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      I’ll have to disagree with Jason on that one. Breer was at the Under Armour Performance Center and he certainly was fed info by the PR staff prior to his segment on NFL Network.

      • Mark on said:

        From Jack Bechta’s “Agents Journal” 2/26/14 column on National Football Post about the Combine. Probably not about the Ravens but if it is, it might explain why the Castle and Laconfora have a different take on the Ngata extension talks?

        “Historically, several high profile extensions get finished up with many others getting 99% agreed upon with more details finished up in the next few days of the week following the Combine. In addition, I personally saw more and more teams staying out of the tampering game. One agent I know was standing five feet from the execs of a team that want to restructure down one of their defensive pro bowler’s deal. The team exec told me they couldn’t even get a meeting with the agent. The agent then told me the team offered his client the most offensive contract he has seen in 15 years. The two sides left without ever talking”

      • Cheri on said:

        Wow Interesting.Not sure where Jason is getting his sources then .I don’t think he would dispute NFL Network just because he used to work for them, I don’t think he left on bad terms.
        Tony do you side on Albert on this one? Like rxdoxx said unless they are trying to create enough cap space to get something done with Torry because they have enough in the cookie jar to sign there draft picks and to add a veteran or two after the draft if they deem necessary. It could just be that they just think Ngata’s cap number is so far out of line for the production he is giving them that it’s just driving them crazy knowing he’s eating up 16 million is space.Makes you wonder what’s the deal here.

  4. Ravcolt on said:

    We need youth and salary cap breathing room, not a burden to the future cap with has-been’s like Ngata and Suggs. Ravens MO with ‘Ravens-type’ veterans is in the wrong direction. Ngata was a bad financial re-signing at the time, and Suggs’ latest re-signing even worse. Just to keep them until they are ready to retire “As a Raven”? What kind of logic is that? Need to look forward, not backwards. Ravens extended the salary pain with Suggs by guaranteeing him more money, when we could have saved enormous cap space this year by saying “See ya.” Cut Ngata after this year and save the cap space. What am I missing?

  5. RAYVENRAYG on said:

    You probably felt that way about RAY & ED before the 2012 season. Had it occurred then there would not have been a Superbowl for 3 to 5 years. Do as you want with SIZZLE & NGATA and it will take 3 to 5 years to get close again. For every poor statistic used to back your feeling there are many intangibles that these 2 bring to our defense as a whole. Those things are never factored in because there is no way to actually quantify them into individual stats. OZZIE did & will do the right thing at the right time so lets not go try to alienate NGATA unless you are a fan of some other team trying to ruin us. Sorry made two spelling mistakes. Go Ravens

  6. ericbleedspurple on said:

    I believe Ngata will retire either at the end of this season or after his contract runs out. I trusty Ozzie to build this defense and Ngata’s experience and leadership is vital when developing young talent.

  7. Joshua on said:

    I think Kapron Lewis-Moore will see significant playing time along the d-line, as well. Last year was a “redshirt” season for him as he recovered from a torn ACL suffered during his last year in college. He, barring any setbacks, could be our new Art Jones; he was a good player at Notre Dame.

  8. bullseye on said:

    Let’s assume Gary turns the offense into a top 10-15 unit. Who knows whether he’ll become a hot head coaching candidate. It might take a couple of years as we’ve seen with others – most recently Jim Caldwell. Even if there is interest, Kubiak may elect to stay as an OC for a couple years. And even if Kubiak leaves after 2014, the Ravens could promote Dennison to OC. They would not have to allow Dennison to leave with Kubiak. So I think the concern that both Kubiak and Dennison will jet after one year is way overblown. The Ravens are smarter than that. They’re not going to have Flacco learn a new system and then be willing to have both Kubiak and Dennison leave after one year. Not when they’re paying Joe $20M and he’s in the prime of his career. It just doesn’t make any sense to leave that to chance.

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