Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images/sportsillustrated.cnn.com
Posted by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Tommy Parrill (@DearTommy)
As we have entered into the first week of NFL free agency, there are many fans out there that are either beaming with excitement (ex: the Lions and Reggie Bush) or scratching their head in confusion (ex: the Patriots losing Wes Welker to the Broncos). After talking to many football fans and listening to my boy Adam Schefter, the consensus is that the Baltimore Ravens have thrown in the towel. Since Monday, the reigning Super Bowl champions have traded away Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers (which makes San Fran even STRONGER), cut Bernard Pollard (2012 team leader in tackles), lost linebacker’s Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger to opposing free agent deals (Dolphins and Browns), and it’s even looking like they will lose Ed Reed as well. Oh, and did I mention they lost their passionate veteran linebacker, Ray Lewis, to retirement and ESPN? This all comes after the HUGE six year-$120.6 million contract that Joe Flacco signed to stay with the purple & black for the foreseeable future. Some people may say that the cutting and trading of these players was because of Flacco’s new contract, but they'd be wrong. The issue is that the Ravens won the Super Bowl.
When you win a Super Bowl, it usually means that you are full of veterans that are looking for their payday. As they damn well should! They won the freaking Super Bowl! Personally, I give credit to the Ravens for putting their focus on resigning Joe Flacco from day one. That guy that has taken them to the play-offs every year since he was drafted, and with his calm and cool demeanor, he brought them a ring. He deserved that big contract. A franchise quarterback is something that any team dreams of, and with the future of quarterbacks in the league looking good, Baltimore did right in keeping Flacco at any cost. So because of that, I don’t believe that the Ravens have given up. They have simply looked ahead at rebuilding this team for the future.
What all of these moves will show us in time is how good the front office really is in Baltimore. Will Ozzie Newsome be able to rebuild this team, and get some more precious metal for the Flac Attack? We saw the same thing in New England after they won their first few Super Bowls. They cut loose guys such as Willie McGinest, Richard Seymour, Adam Vinatieri, and Mike Vrabel, but what they did keep was Tom Brady. Now, I can’t stand Tom Brady, but I understand that he is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. I have always respected the Patriots for seeing that as well. They were able to trade in a few rough years for a bright future because they knew that Brady would be at the helm. I’m not saying that this will shape out for Baltimore like it did for New England, but if it does, good for the Ravens. However, if it doesn’t, that will make every Brown’s fan in the world jump for joy.
Is the loss of Boldin, Pollard, your entire starting linebacker core and possibly Ed Reed going to hurt them badly? You better believe it. Let’s get another thing straight, when I say the future, I mean 3+ years down the road. Whether this is what they had to do, or chose to do, when high profile athlete’s want paid, they follow the proverbial rainbow to another pot of gold. Which takes you right out of the running for a repeat. The Baltimore Ravens will not be Super Bowl relevant for at least another 3 years, because let’s be real, rebuilding takes time and you have to put all of the right pieces in all the right places. What is important here is that Flacco is locked up for many years, Ray Rice is still your running back (that would make anybody happy), Torrey Smith is turning into one of the premiere wide receivers in the game, and the secondary is coming along well. Not to mention they just signed defensive tackle Chris Canty. So, all I am trying to say Raven’s fans is, everything will be ok...eventually. You might not be a championship contender until, oh let's say 2020, but hey, you can't win 'em all, Jack. Lets end on some optimism! I mean, the Orioles are looking pretty good.....hopefully.