Ozzie isn’t The Godfather

Lombardi's Way Ozzie isn’t The Godfather

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What is going on with Lardarius Webb?

The Ravens want him long-term and the thought of him and Jimmy Smith playing together for another 3 or more years is an exciting proposition. It will make finding adequate safeties a bit simpler going forward and it could allow an average pass rush look above average; above average look Top 5.

Webb’s star is on the rise. He has fully recovered from the 2009 ACL injury, his hip movements are more fluid and he’s a better student of the game. Mix in some very solid open field tackling and run support from the edge plus a man of outstanding character and what you have is a player who you would like to lock up during his most productive years.

So what is the hold up?

Hang on to that thought for a moment.

In other news the Baltimore Ravens have visited with a few players we know of and perhaps a few others we don’t know about. And then there are those who allegedly pounded flesh with Ozzie Newsome despite the reality of those visits simply existing in the minds of certain player agents as a way to create leverage and boost value for their clients.

We get it.

But that said, isn’t it a bit alarming that not-so-household names like Evan Mathis and Mark Anderson have visited with the Ravens only to leave without deals? The Ravens generally don’t visit with free agents unless there’s a sincere interest on both sides.

Ted Ginn, Jr. also came and went – clearly he could provide a jolt to a very lackluster return game.

Tully Banta-Cain has been linked to the Ravens.

The Eagles landed a very capable DeMeco Ryans who plays inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense for a fourth round pick. Isn’t that a need of the Ravens?

So what gives here?

It has to be about money right? Who wouldn’t want to be a Raven? Suddenly the cheapest guy in town isn’t Jack Luskin or Peter Angelos – it’s Ozzie Newsome!

Could it be that the Ravens are cash strapped?

Maybe Joe Flacco is going to cost them more than they anticipated.

As it stands now after the Matt Birk signing and after the $1.6M bump courtesy of league sanctions against the Redskins and Cowboys, the Ravens are roughly $6M under the cap.

If they deplete those resources for players like Mathis and Anderson it could make them vulnerable to a team willing to exchange a late No. 1 pick for Lardarius Webb. If the Ravens grind down that $6M, they may be hamstrung in their attempts to either sign Webb to a long-term deal or even more daunting, unable to match an offer from another club who deem Webb worthy of a late No. 1.

Sure, restructuring other contracts like those of Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and Marshal Yanda is a possibility, but it’s something the Ravens would prefer to avoid. Exchanging salary for bonuses for purposes of the cap can be dangerous in the event of injury, retirement or players failing to produce to the level of the restructured contract.

Ozzie has been accused of sitting on his hands.

For now, it might not be such a bad thing to do.


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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 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 and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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