These are the in-between days in the NFL – the days during which we await the new league year, predict the roster augmentation of teams and pour through mock drafts which somehow, become measuring sticks for the actual picks made by NFL teams. Veer from such mock drafts and teams are criticized by fans for their selections, labeling them as “reaches”.
It’s interesting how the media somehow shapes the narrative of successful or failed draft picks and not the professionals who have forgotten more about football than the amateur personnel analysts will ever know. That said, it is a “mock”, it is entertaining and it provides food for thought (or ridicule) here at the Ravens Town Tavern.
But the entertainment doesn’t stop with the draft. It also extends to crazy speculation – such as Kyler Murray to the Ravens. I’m not sure why I’m even giving such insane spit-balling any credence, but hey, these are those in-between days, right? These words, these fantasy football polluted thoughts from Fansided’s Jarrett Bailey, seem about as reliable as an inside scoop from Jason LaCanfora.
— Gridiron On Tap (@GridironOnTap) February 23, 2022
Why would the Ravens want Kyler Murray when they have Lamar Jackson? Eddie Murray has a better chance of playing again in Baltimore than Kyler does. And by the way, who is Jarrett Bailey, the long-lost great-grandson of the guy from It’s a Wonderful Life? Maybe Bailey should explore ways in which his hometown Steelers can upgrade from the great Mason Rudolph.
Schefter on Lamar
ESPN’s Adam Schefter weighed in on Lamar’s contract situation recently and seemed to express some frustration.
“If I was Lamar Jackson [it] would be my offseason priority to make sure that I don’t step football field again until I have one of those lucrative new contracts that puts me in line with these higher paid quarterbacks in the league.”
Lamar Jackson has been extension eligible for over a year, but he's trying to do it without an agent. It's one of the most unique situations not talked about enough.
The NFL has never had a deal which would be of this magnitude without a certified agent. Will it get done? 👇 pic.twitter.com/5hEE6x5Vz2
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) February 23, 2022
Could this conversation with Schefter be part of a ploy by the Ravens to get Lamar to revisit the bargaining table? Let’s keep in mind that Schefter has an excellent relationship with Ravens GM Eric DeCosta and it isn’t unusual for teams to leverage such relationships to create a favorable narrative. I also found this quote from Schefter to be somewhat telling when discussing why a new deal is not yet done:
“Lamar is more interested in playing football or doing whatever he does.”
“Whatever he does…”
It does seem as if Lamar wants his 2022 season to influence and set the parameters for any new contract. He’s betting on himself and it’s hard to find fault with that. And if he performs as he did in 2019 and the Ravens are legitimate Super Bowl contenders, everyone is happy. But waiting prohibits the Ravens from trimming $10M or so from Lamar’s 2022 cap number of $23M, the result of the team exercising Jackson’s 5th-year option.
And maybe Schefter’s apparent frustration with the situation is a true reflection of DeCosta’s.
Put Me In Coach
Roster attrition is not the only change we’ll see in 2022. John Harbaugh’s staff has certainly taken on a new look and has already seen its fair share of change with the addition of five new coaches.
The Ravens also named Anthony Weaver Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach. That’s a significant move.
Weaver is generally considered to be an up and coming head coaching candidate. His status as a productive 7-year vet in the league commands respect as do his communication skills. Many believe that he could become an NFL head coach someday and given that possibility, elevating Weaver to Assistant Head Coach shines a brighter light on him and if someday he’s lured away by another team as their head coach, the Ravens would be compensated in the form of two 3rd-round draft picks. You may recall that the team benefitted similarly from the departure of David Culley who also happened to be an “Assistant Head Coach” from 2019-2020.
Anthony Weaver has been named Assistant Head Coach / Defensive Line Coach. pic.twitter.com/Mtp2wts9QO
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) February 23, 2022
The Ravens defense could benefit from a healthy injection of playmakers. When I saw this play by Andrew Booth, it wasn’t hard to envision such a skillset in Chris Hewitt’s secondary. According to The Draft Network, Booth “offers an exciting blend of size, athleticism, instincts, physicality, ball skills, and competitive toughness that give him the makeup of an impact starter at the next level. He is a fiery competitor on the field that plays with an alpha mentality.”
Booth is expected to be a first-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
He was FLOATING 👀 pic.twitter.com/WHdOEODNsq
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 28, 2020
Monday Night Football
I’m old enough to remember when Monday Night Football was THE premier game of the week in the NFL. That’s no longer the case. ESPN doesn’t get the attractive slate of games afforded to Sunday Night Football and the talent manning the MNF TV booth doesn’t possess the star power of NBC’s “waiting all day for Sunday Night”. But maybe that’s about to change.
Word is that Troy Aikman will now have Sundays off, opting instead for Monday workdays and a boatload of money. And his FOX sidekick Joe Buck, might follow suit.
Troy Aikman is now finalizing a deal to leave FOX and become the main analyst for Monday Night Football, per @AndrewMarchand. The deal is expected to be for 5 years worth around $17.5M per season. ESPN could also end up trying to pry Joe Buck away from FOX.https://t.co/2BNc2Nxpvj
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) February 24, 2022
Like most social media platforms, Twitter is a great source of information and commentary. But also like most social media platforms, it can be toxic. Hiding behind the cloak of anonymity, insecure people, some probably tucked away in the darkness of their parents’ basement, viciously and tastelessly take shots at others in sub-humane ways. NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala has felt the wrath of these cowardly, dungeon dwellers, who unfortunately will live as long as insecurity, jealousy and mean-spiritedness survive. And she took a swing back. Good for you Aditi!
Kinkhabwala is nothing less than a class act with an obvious zest for life. Shame on those who temporarily derailed such an inviting spirit.
I do this job, and I love this job. But I will never love this job as much as I love my children. And all you jacks who have a problem w/ my children and go out of your way to try to make me feel bad about my children… may you one day realize how sad you are to rip a baby’s joy.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) February 21, 2022
Another Weighs in on Lamar’s Contract
ESPN’s Ryan Clark has now weighed in on Lamar Jackson and that elusive new contract extension. I think what many are overlooking is that Lamar is the one pumping the brakes on a new deal getting done. Reading the tea leaves, the guess here is that the 2019 MVP doesn’t want Lamar, vintage 2021, to weigh too heavily into the discussions. The Ravens have to consider it when determining his market value. It would appear that Lamar wants to remove any doubt and then have the Ravens pay him a contract commensurate with the way he played in 2019-2020.
So all this noise from Clark about not walking on grass, and instead sticking to the sidewalk, how about taking that concept to the dumpster. The delay in a new deal looks to be on No. 8.
“If I’m Lamar Jackson, I don’t even step on grass without a new contract. … It’s that important this deal gets done for Lamar right now, it gets done the right way and he becomes the highest paid player in football.” – @Realrclark25
— Bobby Trosset (@bobbywbal) February 24, 2022
Old Ravens Become New Ravens
A few former Ravens are rumored to be on the move and they are none other than Ryan Jensen, Hayden Hurst and Za’Darius Smith. Of the three, I’d be most interested in Jensen. Since becoming a starter in 2017, Jensen hasn’t missed a game. Plus he brings a measure of nastiness that is missing from the O-line. Of course it will always come down to right player, right price.
As for Hurst and Smith, it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around a player who just two years ago demanded a trade because he didn’t want to be second fiddle to Mark Andrews. I like the player, but I don’t want the mood swings. As for Smith, I’m a bit concerned about a player who missed last season with back issues.
Sarah Ellison posted this related question on Twitter…
If you could have a reunion with just one former Raven, who would it be?
— Sarah Ellison (@sgellison) February 24, 2022
The New Brady Bunch
Tom Brady apparently can’t sit still and now he’s heading to the big screen. I have to think he’d be a natural as an actor. He’s been fooling referees for a couple of decades now.
In his first post-retirement move, @TomBrady will produce and star in a new road trip movie titled #80forBrady. The film will also feature Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno and Sally Field https://t.co/lSJPijULra pic.twitter.com/JcBwrRJEg8
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 23, 2022
I really don’t get the talk about the Ravens pursuing another veteran receiver. I’ve heard the name Jarvis Landry bantered about as a potential cap casualty in Cleveland. And while Landry is a nice player, I don’t think he brings anything to the table that the Ravens don’t already have. Rashod Bateman will be better and so will Marquise Brown. If the Ravens find ways for Devin Duvernay and James Proche to get more involved, adding an expensive possession receiver like Landry accomplishes what? I’ll wait. Your thoughts are welcome in the comments section below.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) February 24, 2022
Condolences to the families and friends of two legendary musicians who recently passed, namely Gary Brooker from Procol Harum and Mark Lanegan from Screaming Trees. Brooker struggled with cancer while Lanegan’s bout with COVID was exacerbated by some underlying issues that proved to be deadly. Here’s to their memories and their music!
My Single Friend
My Single Friend met this smoking hot girl at the bar. He thought he recognized her voice so he asked her where she worked.
Girl: I work for a collection agency.
MSF thought, “that’s how I know her voice!”
He then had a great idea.
Knowing full-well that she’d shoot him down, he repeatedly asked for her number. Repeatedly she said no and eventually, she left.
Now she no longer calls him to collect.
I tell you, MSF is brilliant sometimes…
And lastly, there was a near deadly accident this week in Perry Hall that involved an elderly woman who ran her car through a hair salon. Roula’s Hair Salon was destroyed and significant injuries were sustained. A fellow small business owner, Nicole Massoni, put together this GoFundMe page to aid in the recovery. Even the smallest of donations help and if you are unable, sharing the story and the page are greatly appreciated as well.