Thursday, July 28, 2011

Are the Ravens patient during free agency or broke?






Why are the Ravens slow to do anything? Try this, they are a little less than $8M under the cap and that is BEFORE Marshal Yanda's new deal. Now granted the releases and signings haven’t officially taken place but that’s the snapshot o f the Ravens cap as provided by our own Brian McFarland (who will have a more comprehensive piece on this topic tomorrow).

So now you know (at least in part) why the team released Willis McGahee, Kelly Gregg, Todd Heap and Derrick Mason. They desperately needed the cap space for Yanda.

So where was the hiccup? Why did these cap issues just suddenly creep up out of nowhere?

Last week ESPN’s John Clayton reported that the Ravens were $1.8M over the cap and that number did not include the RFA tenders which totaled around $10M. Then the minimum salaries went up by $55K per player for about three-fourths of the team’s roster. Not all of those add into the cap because of the rule of 51, but that also took away another $1.5M or so.

Bottom line, until the Ravens can sign Ngata to a long-term deal or restructure other contracts, they appear to be handcuffed.

At the end of the day, maybe Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens are not as much patient as they are broke.

This isn’t shaping up well so far for the Ravens, a team that had secondary issues heading into the off season with pending free agents Josh Wilson, Chris Carr and Dawan Landry. They have an unsettled situation at right tackle and no experience in the backfield behind Ray Rice. The last time the Ravens had such thin depth there, was back in 2001 when Jamal Lewis went down and the team had to turn to a rapidly aging Terry Allen and the plump and unproven Jason Brookins to carry the rock for Brian Billick and Elvis Grbac.

Where will the pass rush help come from?

What about WR where the team suddenly seems thin without Derrick Mason?

Can they even afford Marc Bulger as a back-up QB?

Who will be the swing interior offensive lineman now that Chris Chester is gone?

It’s not over until it’s over but for the moment, the Ravens are down a few scores at the half.







8 comments :

Jerry B said...

Am I beginning to sense some paranoia from you, TL? The Redskins are feasting on Ravens' "leftovers", the players cut to provide cap room were not totally unexpected with the possible exception of Heap, but with the emphasis almost entirely on passing, the tight end position as we have known it will be changing to provide more down field speed. The Packers proved to have the winning formula last year even with all their injuries as they passed on offense and rushed the passer on defense. Which brings us to the Ravens' most critical need: a pass rusher. That was supposed to be why they drafted Kindle last year, but it's still a need. In fact, like the TE position on offense, the LB position on defense will be changing, too, as greater emphasis is placed on pressuring the passer than defending the run or pass. So, let's see what Ozzie has up his sleeve in the coming days as the labor strife induced "merry-go-round" continues. My sense is that he has always known what he was doing and will replace lost personnel with equal or better talent. There are not too many players who the Ravens have lost over the years who have distinguished themselves as well elsehere as they did here......

Tony Lombardi said...

And I'm sensing selective reading from you Jerry.

Anonymous said...

What a terribly written piece of crap.

Tony Lombardi said...

Hey Anonymous,

This one's for you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yB7J7DYi6M

peace,

TL

Jerry B said...

Tony: the paranoia reference has to do with your byline: "...patient during free agency or broke?"! There is an old adage that says, "act in haste, repent at leisure"! That being said, it's amazing how some teams like the Redskins and Jets spend exhorbitant amounts of money on free agents every year and never seem to have "cap" problems......

Tony Lombardi said...

Jerry B,

It certainly makes you question a few things doesn't it?

cheers,

TL

Ben said...

Tony,

I think the article brings up some great points but I also think that this free agency period is no different than any other led by Ozzie and Co.

Josh Wilson was a great insurance policy, but essentially he is the same type of player as Foxworth and was brought in here simply because of injury. You don't know if he can play inside as well as he could outside and unless you're the New York Jets, you don't draft a CB in the first round to play nickle his whole career.

There would have to be a decision made in the next year as whether or not we would release Foxworth for Wilson or even more simply, who would start. So ultimately right player but still wrong price considering his diminished role. Plus we don't know if Wilson wanted to stay knowing Dominique and Smith were here and going to be starters.

As for the other free agents I absolutely wanted Santonio or Sydney Rice but after looking at their contracts I'd much rather have the opportunity to have Rice, Grubbs, Flacco and Ngata long term. And that's the thing we all forget. You can't have them all.

That was the whole reason there is parity in this league. If you draft well, then good players leave. If you're smart then the great players don't. The Redskins can sign whomever they want because they don't have to worry about Devin Thomas needing to be resigned or really any draft pick for that matter aside from Orakpo.

The Ravens are victims of their own success and for Ozzie to rush into a huge deal for a luxury player like Santonio, (after lets FINALLY see what our young WRs can do!), or Joseph (again 50 million for a nickle!!!) or a stop gap RT means we're going to pay for it down the road in depth and quality starters.

Just ask the Jets who could win the Super Bowl this year... if no one gets hurt. Mater of fact Rex has called me to be the backup for Sanchez, their o line, and D tackle.

So lets see what this team has up their sleeve this year, as realistically the only free agents I want now are Vickers and Barber to complement Rice with a power attack as well as that (note to LeRon) blocking full back.

Lastly; who was the big budget free agent signing for the packers last year or the Steelers? Guys like Flozel and Randel el are hardly waves. Two years ago the Saints won the superbowl by signing Sharper. Yes they established themselves by signing Brees in 06 but those were the final pieces to get them over the hump. Realistically the draft is still the event to build your team and free agency is just the consolation prize in case you mess up.

Isn't that right Mr. Snyder?

Ben said...

Tony,

I think the article brings up some great points but I also think that this free agency period is no different than any other led by Ozzie and Co.

Josh Wilson was a great insurance policy, but essentially he is the same type of player as Foxworth and was brought in here simply because of injury. You don't know if he can play inside as well as he could outside and unless you're the New York Jets, you don't draft a CB in the first round to play nickle his whole career.

There would have to be a decision made in the next year as whether or not we would release Foxworth for Wilson or even more simply, who would start. So ultimately right player but still wrong price considering his diminished role. Plus we don't know if Wilson wanted to stay knowing Dominique and Smith were here and going to be starters.

As for the other free agents I absolutely wanted Santonio or Sydney Rice but after looking at their contracts I'd much rather have the opportunity to have Rice, Grubbs, Flacco and Ngata long term. And that's the thing we all forget. You can't have them all.

That was the whole reason there is parity in this league. If you draft well, then good players leave. If you're smart then the great players don't. The Redskins can sign whomever they want because they don't have to worry about Devin Thomas needing to be resigned or really any draft pick for that matter aside from Orakpo.

The Ravens are victims of their own success and for Ozzie to rush into a huge deal for a luxury player like Santonio, (after lets FINALLY see what our young WRs can do!), or Joseph (again 50 million for a nickle!!!) or a stop gap RT means we're going to pay for it down the road in depth and quality starters.

Just ask the Jets who could win the Super Bowl this year... if no one gets hurt. Mater of fact Rex has called me to be the backup for Sanchez, their o line, and D tackle.

So lets see what this team has up their sleeve this year, as realistically the only free agents I want now are Vickers and Barber to complement Rice with a power attack as well as that (note to LeRon) blocking full back.

Lastly; who was the big budget free agent signing for the packers last year or the Steelers? Guys like Flozel and Randel el are hardly waves. Two years ago the Saints won the superbowl by signing Sharper. Yes they established themselves by signing Brees in 06 but those were the final pieces to get them over the hump. Realistically the draft is still the event to build your team and free agency is just the consolation prize in case you mess up.

Isn't that right Mr. Snyder?