If you live in the city of Baltimore or are an avid fan of the Baltimore Ravens, hopefully you are not in panic mode like most of the fan base.
The Baltimore Ravens are the 2012 Super Bowl champions and quite honestly, it’s hard to believe that any champion in ANY major sport these days could repeat. Just because the Ravens haven’t been as active in bringing back some players from the Super Bowl roster, doesn’t mean they do not know what they are doing.
The Ravens have taken a smart approach to this off-season in catering to the needs of the team before anything else. Quarterback Joe Flacco had to be the guy at the top priority heading into free agency and he had to be paid like the king of the city. In a quarterback-driven league, Flacco is a commodity that many teams wish they could have. He may not be on the level of Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, but he is a championship-winning quarterback and not many guys in the league today can say that.
To those that say Flacco’s six-year, $120.6 million contract is forcing the Ravens’ hand in purging the team, I say bologna.
The Ravens were not about to give two players $75 million that have made 21 career NFL starts in the last four years. Yes, I’m talking about linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger.
Letting go of a locker room issue in safety Bernard Pollard is something this team needs moving forward.
Cary Williams to the Eagles for three-years and over $17 million? Take him, the Ravens have plenty of corners.
Trading Anquan Boldin for sixth round pick from San Francisco may seem like a bit of a downer, but the Ravens needed to get younger at the position and develop some of the younger players they already have on the depth chart.
Losing center Matt Birk and inside linebacker Ray Lewis to retirement is out of the team’s control.
Potentially losing Ed Reed to the Texans would be an unfortunate, yet not drastic blow to the franchise. If you honestly have watched the games with even an untrained eye, you could see Reed’s tackling ability diminishing. Plus, his will to play the game remains in question as he has suffered from Brett Favre syndrome in trying to decide whether or not he wants to retire in recent memory. Losing a leader like him would hurt, especially with all of departures we’ve seen thus far.
HOWEVER, there is still plenty of time before the Ravens take the field for the first game of the 2013 season.
The Ravens have made two cost-effective moves to bolster the lagging defensive line with the additions of former New York Giant Chris Canty and former Dallas Cowboy Marcus Spears. They have a need that general manager Ozzie Newsome said was their top priority and they are addressing it. Obviously, it remains to be seen if these two are the answer, but it appears that the Ravens are re-tooling the right way.
There are still plenty of questions left for the team as the offseason kicks into high gear.
What will the Ravens do at the left tackle position?
Is Bryant McKinnie the answer for now?
With Ellerbe gone, is it a foregone conclusion that the Ravens are drafting Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o at pick No. 32 in the 2013 NFL Draft?
Is this a year where the Ravens will look to grab the best players available and look toward the future rather than continuing the “win now” mentality?
There is still plenty of time left before we see just what the Ravens will look like in 2013 and we can not forget moves like former wide receiver T.J. Houshmanzadeh and even Bryant McKinnie, where Ozzie pulled them into the organization at the last minute.
The Ravens have overcame losses at key positions and key players in the past. There is no reason to believe that they will not do the same this time around.
We will discuss these topics and more on Saturday’s edition of WNST’s Weekend Warriors (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.). We hope you will chime in your thoughts on how you feel the Ravens have handled this off-season.