Ravens get slammed for being ‘cheap,’ not spending enough this offseason

Ravens, Pat Ricard (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Ravens, Pat Ricard (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens have never been big spenders in free agency, and this offseason is no different. So why are some suddenly calling the franchise “cheap”?

Aside from letting Bradley Bozeman walk, the Ravens haven’t made any egregious mistakes and have signed quality upgrades to fill positions of need, including safety Marcus Williams, nose tackle Michael Pierce, and offensive tackle Morgan Moses.

Baltimore may not be done yet and still have several months to dish out money to remaining free agents, not to mention the team would like to extend Lamar Jackson as soon as possible.

Yet one NFL analyst has not been pleased with the Ravens’ offseason moves so far and made his opinions known on a sports radio show.

CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora ripped apart the Ravens for not doing enough to keep up with the rest of the AFC, and he believes their lack of offseason spending takes them out of Super Bowl contention.

La Canfora repeatedly mentioned the phrase “cash over cap” which refers to the amount spent on players in a given year that exceeds the cap number. He also hammers the point that Baltimore ranks near the bottom of the league in total spending and ranks 13th in the AFC.

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On his show, La Canfora said:

"“There are teams that want you to believe that every little thing they do — and it’s little, it’s by and large little — matters at a time when teams that are really going for it are showing you day to day, hour to hour, what the financial commitment is.”"

He makes it clear that the Ravens are the first team he describes, a team that has made “little” moves like signing Michael Pierce and balks at the idea of spending big on high-profile players.

To be fair, the Za’Darius Smith debacle was not Baltimore’s fault whatsoever — Smith and the team agreed to a deal, but Smith ultimately made an offer the Ravens decided to turn down in part because of the inflated free-agent market.

Whereas other NFL teams are drunk on the idea of building a stacked roster with the biggest and most expensive names, the Ravens are completely sober — they’re the designated drivers of free agency, if you will.

Tyreek Hill manhandled his way to becoming the highest-paid wide receiver in history; Aaron Rodgers got his, and so did Davante Adams, Von Miller, Chandler Jones, and more.

Yes, other AFC teams are making big-money moves to secure top-caliber talents, but at the same time, those teams had more reason to do so.

The Cincinnati Bengals witnessed their offensive line crumble in the playoffs and addressed it accordingly. The Cleveland Browns had a major need at quarterback and traded for Deshaun Watson.

The Ravens need reinforcements, too, but they’re only in as deep as they need to be and they’re only throwing their name in the hat if it’s a sensible choice. Tyreek Hill? Not necessary. Chandler Jones? Out of their price range.

Throughout La Canfora’s tirade, he makes it sound like the Ravens are being too stingy with their money when in reality, they’re just being responsible.

In the past, the Ravens have given top-dollar contracts to several key players including Ronnie Stanley, Marlon Humphrey, and Mark Andrews, and once the Ravens extend Lamar Jackson, their cash over cap numbers should skyrocket in 2022.

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And finally, to La Canfora’s point: the act of spending money does not make a Super Bowl contender. Quality players do, and despite their many needs this offseason, the Ravens know exactly what they’re worth.