SI ranks Ravens front office as best in NFL – so calm down


As the NFL’s free agent frenzy was cranking up, Don Banks of Sports Illustrated and ranked what he believes are the best front offices in football.

In his article “Calling the shots – NFL’s 12 best front offices,” Banks put together his top 12 list of NFL decision-makers.

At the very top of the list?

Your Baltimore Ravens.

1. Baltimore

This isn’t just a case of to the winners go the spoils. Only the newly minted Super Bowl champion Ravens have gone to the playoffs in each of the past five seasons, and Baltimore has even won at least one postseason game every year during that span. Simply put, the front office that Ozzie Newsome has led since the franchise relocated from Baltimore in 1996 has been a blueprint for success over most of that span. The Ravens won with defense in 2000 and for many years after that, and now they’re winning with offense, with Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco taking on the reins of leadership as Ray Lewis exits stage left. That’s the kind of versatility and adaptability every franchise covets for it roster.

As we just learned again Monday, the Ravens don’t get overly sentimental about their weighty personnel decisions. They traded playoff-run star Anquan Boldin when he wouldn’t play ball with them on the salary cap, and they might watch starters like Ed Reed, Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger and Bryant McKinnie follow him out the door. But Baltimore has lost quality players before and prospered (guard Ben Grubbs and outside linebacker Jarret Johnson in free agency just last year) and they won’t sentence themselves to salary cap hell in order to avoid it. They had to get Flacco re-signed without franchising him this offseason, and they did. Everything after that fell under the heading of optional move. With another Lombardi in the trophy case, Newsome can afford to be more patient than ever. His legacy secure, his eventual replacement already on hand in the highly regarded Eric DeCosta, the team’s assistant GM, Newsome can focus on keeping the NFL’s best personnel department on task and running smoothly.

The rest of the list went as follows:

2. Green Bay

3. New York Giants

4. New England

5. Seattle

6. Atlanta

7. San Francisco

8. Indianapolis

9. Pittsburgh

10. Houston

11. Denver

12. New Orleans

So, as your sitting at home watching your friends and family freak out all over Facebook as another player from the Ravens’ Super Bowl squad of 2012 leaves the Nest (Oh, hey, there goes Bernard Pollard! Didn’t see that one coming…), rest easy knowing that there really IS a plan at The Castle.

Just because we don’t know what it is yet – and we may not know until August or September – doesn’t mean it’s not there. The people executing the plan know what they’re doing. They’re not just throwing darts at the player roster and cutting guys loose that way – every move is calculated and has been agonized over for countless hours. They know how to build winners.

If you need reminding of that simple fact, I urge you to take a look at your DVD collection:


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About Derek Arnold

Derek Arnold
RSR/ESR Senior Editor. Derek is originally from and a current resident of Pasadena, MD. He’s a graduate of UMBC and has been a lifelong Baltimore sports fan. In 2007 he founded B’More Birds’ Nest, where he wrote about the Ravens and Orioles before joining RSR in 2012. Derek’s work has...more

13 Raves on “SI ranks Ravens front office as best in NFL – so calm down

  1. Boldin Raver on said:

    Farewell Bernard Pollard and thank you for playing like a Raven! Thanks for all the smart plays and great hits. Class off the field and a beastly terror on it. I do trust in the Oz man, but I will always love how you play football and will miss seing you do it in Ravens purple.

  2. GeneW on said:

    It is tough seeing these guys go, as fans we become attached to them. But, it seems the defense is in need of an overhaul, their numbers were poor this year, but stepped up in big games. Pollard move is kinda weird, but will see. I do like Canty, he is solid. —The only other comment is that I wouldn’t give SI the time of day, they were the same people who tried to destroy Ray Lewis before the Super Bowl with the ‘deer antler’ story. And Peter King, said Cleveland had a chance to sign Flacco, make bid for him. So, I still believe Ozzie and the Castle are ‘tops’ but I don’t need SI telling me that.

    • Bmoredude on said:

      Okay, then you don’t get to celebrate when we’re competitive as usual. Trust in Oz and quit screaming he sky is falling.

  3. DocS on said:

    I personally liked Pollard. In a year where it seemed solid tackling was sorely lacking, he was a big hitter who blew up the short sideline pass routes and dropped strong runners. There were times where you saw receivers flinch and drop passes when they heard him coming.

    Kruger and Ellerbe I won’t miss, Boldin somewhat so, but I really hate to see Pollard go elsewhere. If anything, he’s good for removing New England players from the field.

    • Sharon on said:

      Exactly. Kruger, Ellerbe – are expendable they were a product of the system. Boldin – only time will tell if that was a good move. Pollard – that was a bit shocking.

    • Donnie on said:

      I hate losing Boldin and Pollard but Ellerbe and Mr. Kruger were overpaid. The Ellerbe loss will hurt but the Ravens will overcome it. Plus according to the Sun Pollard and Boldin were locker room problems.

  4. Donnie on said:

    I agree with SI the record and track record speaks for itself. Ozzie is one of the best GM`s in all of pro sports not just the NFL. We won the super bowl this past season and have had 5 straight playoff runs don`t tell me that if we do go 6-10 this coming season which I do not think will happen,but If it does that Ravens fans can not handle a down season. As long as you have a franchise QB you have a shot that is why they HAD to resign Joe Flacco. They would not have been in good or better shape letting Flacco walk and keeping these guys that they lost no way you have no shot in this league with no QB. They have been kings at rebuilding the defense no that skill will be tested again the defense needed to be rebuilt the Ravens will be just fine.

  5. billy on said:

    Harbs wants control of the locker room so everyone must leave!!! That’s why Harbs dumped Pollard because he feels he runs his mouth to much … to vocal…. to much of a leader …. and Harbs can’t have that, so he blows up the team , Ozzy goes along with it , and Steve well .. he can still raise prices on tickets, get a bunch of new young cheap players ” KACHANG” , and run up the old bank account. He knows all the Kool Aid drinkers in Baltimore would go see the Ravens play even if they have no wins. A win win for him, but you won’t see too many win wins next year in Ravens land or the year after with this bunch. Alabama will have a better defense then the Ravens next year. The destruction is unbelievable!

    • Derek ArnoldDerek Arnold on said:

      You make some OK points, but I disagree with the “ka-chang” part. Watch where they end up with the salary cap – they’ll be right up against it, like they ALWAYS are. They’re clearing cap room now, but they’re not lining their pockets with it.

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