Just a week ago for this regular offseason column we were remarking upon what a quiet period of time had passed, while also saying that it was surely going to change dramatically within hours. Wow! It really did!
It was a good week for the football birds of Charm City, as the Baltimore Ravens roster took on some more defined shape with critical free agent signings.
Actually, as this time is looked back upon, it may very well be the re-signings that are seen as the most critical good thing that transpired. It was almost unimaginable that the Ravens would be able to retain both Eugene Monroe and Daryl Smith, but that is what happened. And as a bonus, Jacoby Jones was also able to find a return path to Baltimore.
Beyond these critical retentions, the Ravens were also able to make a major move outside the organization by signing long-time Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith to a three-year deal for $11 million. Along with the earlier signing of Dennis Pitta, and joining with Jones, Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown, the bulk of quality targets for Joe Flacco are now in the house. There will be the need to secure another tight end in one form or another.
There were some losses however, as CB Corey Graham departed for Buffalo for four years at $20 million, as did OT Michael Oher for the exact same terms with Tennessee. Graham is the greater loss, but each opens holes that will need to be filled, even if they are not surprise losses.
Also 99% out the door is strong safety James Ihedigbo, who appears to be desirous to consummate a likely signing with the Lions. Matt Elam can move to this position, though that creates the arguably greatest need to be addressed – free safety. If this is to come through free agency rather than the draft, the most oft-floated name is Thomas DeCoud, who was released by the Falcons and would not cost the Ravens a compensatory draft pick.
Another issue revolves around the center position, where the Ravens were outmanned and undersized in 2013.
So, even as this was an incredibly good and interesting week, there is much more to come and still significant work to be done.