Don’t Expect the Baltimore Ravens to be Active Early in Free Agency


Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots in the third quarter during the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

NFL fans, executives, and players are chomping at the bit for the start of free agency next week.  It’s an exciting time that often brings a number of shocking moves, some of them being heralded as franchise saving, while others can in fact set back the franchise for years.  Different teams have different approaches to free agency, some more successful than others.

While we as Baltimore Ravens fans would love to see our team jump in and immediately sign guys like Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Maclin, and Mark Ingram, the truth is they just won’t.  The Ravens take a methodical approach to free agency that has historically paid off, and they will stick to that philosophy once again. In fact, Ozzie and company have only signed sixteen players during the first three months of free agency over the last four years, with only four of them coming in as unrestricted free agents.

That means 12 of those 16 players were cap casualties.  The reasoning is simple – those signings don’t reduce the number of compensatory picks teams receive in the next year’s draft.  The Baltimore Ravens have received more compensatory picks than any other NFL franchise thanks to this approach, and are expected to get three more in 2015.

7 of the 41 compensatory picks the Ravens have received later became starters, including Pernell McPhee. His expected departure should be recycled into a 3rd or 4th round compensatory pick next year as the team continues its cycle of success.  Waiting until after June 1st to sign any UFA’s will net them even more compensatory picks.

It’s hard to argue against a formula that has resulted in the Baltimore Ravens winning more NFL games since 2008 than any team except the New England Patriots.  It may be a frustratingly patient approach for both fans and team officials alike, but it is a successful one.  So while other teams are chasing down guys and handing out big contracts next week, rest easy knowing that Ozzie and company know a better way.

Next: Will Courtland Finnegan land with the Ravens?

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