The Baltimore Ravens didn't go all-in with the NFL Free Agency this off-season. Eric DeCosta is clearly trying to be competitive for the next season. He also tries not to sell the farm for a Super Bowl ring during Lamar Jackson's rookie contract.
Much of the fan base wanted the Ravens to lose $ 18-20 million a season on a player like Kenny Golladay. It's hard to hold someone responsible for this way of thinking. Who wouldn't want Golladay on their list?
If the ravens were desperate, they would take this step. They would attack the need beyond their means and reach for luxury on the depth map wherever they could get it. The ravens are not desperate. They don't think they have to win a Super Bowl in Jackson's rookie contract or it will be all over.
The ravens took a number of hands-on practical steps. You have signed Tyus Bowser, Derek Wolfe and L. J. Fort. These are players who help maintain what is already working for Don Martindale's defense. They added Kevin Zeitler to the offensive line and brought in Sammy Watkins.
People seem to forget that the Ravens went 11-5 last season and have been a playoff team since Jackson started quarterback. The Ravens know that as long as they stick their core players together, they will battle for a spot in the playoffs and the chance to get hot at the right moment to win it all.
Joe Flaccos Ravens took the playoffs five times in a row to win the Super Bowl. After that, the ravens fell apart. They won the Super Bowl in the 2012 season but missed the playoffs in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017. That was a brutally frustrating time in Baltimore's sports history.
DeCosta has long-term contracts with Ronnie Stanley and Marlon Humphrey. He made a deal with Marcus Peters who has him here for a while. The 2019 NFL MVP is the next player to hit a deal with. Mark Andrews is also on that list.
The salary cap will always lead DeCosta to make some tough decisions. Obviously, there are plans not to put all the eggs in the basket in 2021. The plan is to avoid another frustrating slump when the joy of another Super Bowl win fades.
The Ravens have seen much of the design since Ozzie Newsome's last draft and DeCosta's acquisition. Another strong draft could keep Baltimore in the pack of candidates for the Lombardi Trophy. Another wave of players who have had the Ravens on affordable contracts for four to five years continues to hold the window open.
The salary cap wasn't as high as anyone had hoped. The ravens wouldn't go mad with contracts. If the Ravens sign long-term contracts with Jackson and Andrews, it pays off. With the Ravens sticking the core together and a few young Ravens joining this important group of players, the Ravens are contenders for an era, not just Jackson's rookie deal.
What if Marquise Brown and Devin Duvernay both have breakout seasons? What if Tyus Bowser and a pass rusher to be drafted later this month become the required pass rush? It doesn't take much for the Ravens to go from a good team to the scariest force in the National Football League.
It's all about the fact that Jackson will always give Baltimore a chance. This entire plan is based on the belief that Jackson will one day be a Super Bowl MVP.
This plan is based on the idea that all the ravens need to do is figure out how to win the first one with Jackson and they know they'll have a chance to do it again. Keeping the band together is a good idea.
The ravens are obviously a team with some needs. The point is, there is a plan, and not just for the 2021 season. The Ravens must be ready to live in a world where Jackson makes over $ 40 million a season. Winning a Super Bowl can't be the final. The ravens want several rings.
It took Flacco's crew five years to do it. Jackson will continue to give the ravens a chance to make the breakthrough. Once he does, the ravens must be prepared to move on. The ravens have won two Super Bowls. Both are forever special. However, the joyous exuberance subsides and at some point you will want another chance to win it all.