Jarrett Johnson signed a 4-year contract with the San Diego Chargers Tuesday after spending 9 seasons in Baltimore.

To win or to spend?

I successfully managed to find some time to crank out a quick post during the first slate of NCAA Tournament games today. The most excitement is currently in the UNC Ashville-Syracuse game, which is shocking considering it’s a 1-16 matchup. But enough about college basketball on a site about a pro football team. The losses of Jarrett Johnson, Cory Redding and Ben Grubbs since free agency started Tuesday got me thinking about what’s more important when it comes to choosing a team: winning or getting paid.

Remember last year when Jacksonville gave Dawan Landry a five-year, $27.5 million deal with $10.5 million guaranteed? Landry left Baltimore and went to Jacksonville to play for the Jags and get paid. He obviously valued money over winning and that’s what baffles me. Why go to a team in shambles for the money instead of playing beside Ed Reed and potentially winning a Super Bowl?

Redding became the first Ravens casualty of the 2012 free agency period as he followed former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano to the Colts.

Double J was casualty No. 2 when he signed a four-year deal with San Diego (who have been quietly solidifying themselves as Ravens West: Antwan Barnes, Jared Gaither, Le’Ron McClain and Johnson) after spending the first nine years of his career in Baltimore.

Then, news broke this morning about Grubbs signing a five-year, $36 million deal with the Saints. He reportedly turned down a five-year, $32.5 million deal the Ravens offered him for an extra $3.5 million and some good cajun food.

Grubbs left a contender to play for another contender for slightly more money, I’m OK with that. Johnson left a contender to go play for a potential contender, I’m slightly OK with this, too. But, for sentimental purposes, I hate this move. I’m a big fan of Double J and will surely miss him opposite of Terrell Suggs this season. Redding’s move, however, confuses me.

Pagano must have had a big impact on Redding during his two-year stint in Baltimore, but that much of an impact? The Colts are no where close to Super Bowl. They just gutted their entire roster and part of the front office. The Colts are a multi-year process and should they put it all together in the next few years, might reach a Super Bowl with Andrew Luck. But it will likely happen — if it does — after Redding hangs it up.

Paul Kruger will likely take over for Johnson, while Pernell McPhee and Arthur Jones tag-team Redding’s vacated 5-technique. If Evan Mathis signs with the Ravens, all positions are filled and really no harm would be done. But I still can’t get over why some players choose to leave a playoff mainstay for a rebuilding or inconsistent team. Not even just the fact that the Ravens are a perennial playoff time, but how well-constructed the front office is. I’m thankful for Ozzie Newsome every offseason after watching how poorly some teams (cough, Washington, cough) spend their money. Some teams will dish out more money to a No. 3 receiver than some teams pay for a No. 1 receiver (Washington gave Pierre Garcon a five-year, $42.5 million deal, while New Orleans gave Marques Colston a five-year, $40 million deal).

The Ravens always seem to have a backup plan if things don’t go their way, and things didn’t their way for three starters this offseason. As they prepare to reload, or begin to integrate younger talent into starting roles, I wonder if the three guys that chose the money will miss it Baltimore. Especially Redding and Johnson. Both are older guys, but I guess money is more important to some players.

It will be interesting to see if either Grubbs, Johnson or Redding will regret their decisions to take the money in a few years, but for now, I pose this question: If you were a prized free agent, would you take less money to potentially when a Super Bowl or would you take the lucrative deal with a team in disarray?


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Tags: Ben Grubbs Cory Redding Free Agency Jarret Johnson

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