OZZIE PROVIDES SANITY TO A CRAZY FREE AGENT MARKET

Street Talk OZZIE PROVIDES SANITY TO A CRAZY FREE AGENT MARKET

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The last time I wrote a column for PF24X7 I lamented the loss of Adalius Thomas and hoped the Ravens would use the money saved to keep Tony Pashos and Ovie Mughelli, who could again lead-block for the expected-to-be-resigned Jamal Lewis. 
 
Wrong!  
 
Wrong on all counts!!
 
Ah, the trials and tribulations of a fan trying to predict the intentions of his favorite football team.  It also explains why my NCAA brackets are in shreds in my Sports Palace wastebasket. 
 
But when I saw the insane amount of money being thrown at this year’s free agents, there’s no way the Ravens and Ozzie could have, or should have matched those numbers even if they had a healthy cap number.  You can understand the cash that the Patriots threw at A.D., but a $24 million deal for a right tackle who’s barely come into his own? Six million more for a fullback whose main job is to lead block?  Is Ovie going to be Michael Vick’s new bodyguard on and off the field?  Jamal-Jamal?  Forget his anti-Raven rhetoric.  He was preaching to the Cleveland choir.  Even the Plain-Dealer’s beat writer made a crack that he expects all old Ravens to end up in C-town sooner or later. 
 
Ozzie Newsome’s philosophy was never clearer and never more right: Right player, right price, and the price was never right in any of these cases. 
 
In Willis McGahee, we’re getting a back that’s two years younger, can hit the hole faster, can block, and actually catch a pass out of the backfield.  Initially, the trade off seems excessive for a team like the Ravens who put a lot of time and effort into their scouting and draft selection process.  No doubt College Scouting Director Eric DeCosta had a minor cow giving up those two 3’s and a 7.  I know Peter King of SI, who doesn’t always think logically to begin with, feels that way.
 
But I like the trade.
 
Look at this way….the Ravens gave up a LATE 3rd round and a 7th round pick this year.  The Ravens draft 29th, and that third round ’07 pick is practically in the 4th round.  The 7th pick is mostly a throw away.  If the club performs as well as expected next year in the tumultuous AFC North, the 2008 3rd rounder will again be a late round pick.  So I think the Ravens made a good deal with the Bills.
 
The lost picks will be made up in the compensatory picks this year and next.  With Ozzie and crew’s ability to find the diamonds in the rough, the Ravens will more than make up for these lost ’07 picks.
 
Now, to throw a fly into the ointment of my pre-draft musing, I wonder what Jonathan Ogden is thinking……..
 
No prediction here, folks.

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Fran "The Fan" Vojik

About Fran "The Fan" Vojik

Fran Vojik has been a contributor to the Ravens24X7 site since 2005, first as a regular on the “Letters to T.L.” page, then as the author of the Fran the Fan column. A huge Orioles and Ravens fan, he defines the term “homer.” A former season ticket holder of the Baltimore Colts, he now roots on the Ravens from his corner end zone seat in M&T Bank Stadium. His work makes him a regular traveler to various MLB and NFL cities and he’s watched both the Birds and Purple and Black in a variety of away stadiums. He brings a passionate and humorous perspective to the world of professional sports. Born in Highlandtown, and a graduate of Calvert Hall College and the University of Maryland, he lives on Furnace Creek in northern Anne Arundel County. He and his girlfriend, Sandy, have recently renovated his Man Cave, known as the “The Sports Palace,” which contains many mementos from the Colts, Ravens, and Orioles. On days the Ravens play at home, Fran can usually be found tailgating at the Baltimore Fire Fighters Union Hall Local 734 , supporting the organization’s Widow’s and Orphan’s fund.

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