Can Baltimore Ravens afford to move on from Michael Pierce?
The Baltimore Ravens have some housecleaning to do this offseason with so many priority players hitting Free Agency. Can they afford to lose Michael Pierce?
The Baltimore Ravens have always valued bigger defensive linemen to eat gaps and stuff the run. There are so many examples of players they covet that fit this mold to include Tony Siragusa, Kelly Gregg, and Haloti Ngata to name a few. Brandon Williams has been the most recent example of this trend, as has his partner in crime Michael Pierce.
Pierce is slated to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, however, and the Ravens have to decide if he’s in the folds of their long-term plans. More importantly, we have to ask ourselves whether or not the team can even afford to lose him.
Strictly looking at his stat sheet it seems like an easy decision to let him walk. Michael Pierce has just 3.5 sacks in his four-year stint in the NFL. Production is obviously not Pierce’s strong suit.
To counter this point, however, Pierce is not asked to rush the passer and generate sacks. Rather, Pierce’s job is exactly what we described above: he eats up blocks and stuffs the run. In those four seasons, Pierce has had no less than 32 tackles in a season and has missed just four games in his career. If reliability and dependability are what you’re searching for, then Pierce is your guy.
With all that in mind, it’s a legitimate debate as to what Baltimore should do with him. The Ravens don’t exactly have a ton of cap space and they already have some serious money invested in Brandon Williams. Cutting Williams wouldn’t do the team any favors both financially and in terms of defensive structure. Williams is a key cog for the unit as a leader and player.
Baltimore did invest a fifth-round draft choice in Daylon Mack during the 2019 NFL Draft. At the time it seemed like a pick that didn’t make too much sense given the team’s depth at the position. As we all know by now, the Ravens draft to replace future holes, and it appears that Mack could be Pierce’s replacement.
While it would be hard to let Michael Pierce walk, it simply makes sense for him to do so. Baltimore still has Brandon Williams and Daylon Mack to step up in Pierce’s absence and will easily be outbid by other teams in need of Pierce’s services.
As unfortunate as it is, Michael Pierce is likely moving on from Baltimore. It’s hard to let go of such a good player in Pierce, but the Ravens are constantly losing guys who have success and get paid on the open market. Pierce is likely the next great former-Raven to leave “the Bank” for a big-contract that he’s absolutely deserving of.