Dec 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) is congratulated by wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. (89) after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
To no one’s surprise, there were several teams that made big splashes in free agency over the weekend, even though signings cannot be made official until the new league year begins on Tuesday. Also unsurprisingly, the Baltimore Ravens were not among those teams.
As Torrey Smith publicly said goodbye to the only team he has ever known, other big name free agents were tentatively agreeing to big dollar contracts as well. Among them, several decided to stay with their current teams – Mark Sanchez, Mark Ingram, Randall Cobb, Devin McCourty, Doug Free, Brandon Flowers, and Derek Newton were among the top five at their respective positions who are staying put.
Others, such as Orlando Franklin, Jeremy Maclin, Frank Gore, Ndamukong Suh, Darnell Dockett, and Byron Maxwell have already tentatively agreed to deals that will see them playing in different uniforms next season. Some of the dollars being floated around are quite simply incredible, including Suh’s deal with the Dolphins (6 years, $114 million!!) and Maxwell’s deal with the Eagles (6 years, $63 million).
While some may be understandably frustrated that the Baltimore Ravens are not making a concerted effort to sign one of these guys, I for one am not. We must keep in mind that those who chase big name free agents in March are rarely successful come January and February. Remember all the money the Raiders and Redskins spent over the last few years?
Suh may be a difference maker and is not likely to wind as the second coming of Albert Haynesworth, but the Lions can sign two or three strong defensive tackles for the kind of money he’s getting ready to make. Maxwell has been good while playing in the shadow of Richard Sherman, but will he be worth $25 million guaranteed once he’s a number one guy? Only time will tell.
There is still a lot of good depth out there and I rest comfortably knowing that Ozzie Newsome and company will find those diamonds in the rough, and they will do so at a reasonable price. I like Torrey Smith, but not enough to see him make top receiver money. It’s hard to see him truly earning $8-$10 million a year in San Francisco in a run based offense with an unproven quarterback coming off a rough year.
So while fans of teams like the Dolphins can celebrate (or shake their heads in disbelief) these “offseason Super Bowl” victories, I’ll kick back and wait patiently to see what kind of underrated moves the Ravens make this offseason. In Ozzie I truly do trust. Though I must admit, I am a little anxious about wide receiver depth now that Torrey is gone (Andre Johnson, anyone?)
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