Third and Long: Every Season We’re Shuffling

Jefferson-BR
Photo Credit: Baltimore Ravens

Happy Purple Friday!

 

For some reason I’m in a party mood today. Maybe it’s the break in the weather or the fact the Orioles actually won two games .. in a row. I’m feeling good and ready to review the week that was in Ravens football.

  1. Restructuring Jefferson – It’s become an annual occurrence now. The Ravens are tight against the salary cap and in order to sign players to be competitive for another season a player’s salary needs to be readjusted. The concept is simple, freeing up cap space now can be achieved by moving a portion of salary to a bonus that can be pro-rated over the next five years. Of course that means more potential dead money long-term, which can be dangerous. The new found wealth doesn’t mean that a new deal is in place for one more signing. The funds are already spoken for, though it may give them a chance to sign a cheap veteran before the season begins if need be. Instead of using this method I’d rather see the team sign three-time Pro Bowler C.J. Mosley to a contract extension. Mosley is set to become a free agent after this season and even though publicly Mosley isn’t concerned I like to see the deal get done sooner rather than later. They could structure an extension with some cap friendly numbers in the early years gaining some relief while keeping an important key to the defense.
  2. Catching Passes in Shorts – Rookie Mini-camp was one of the biggest stories of the week as it gave the coaches and media just a glimpse of what talent was selected. Lamar Jackson was the focal point as all eyes dissected his every move on the practice field. He had this to say about his three day crash course into professional football.

“The NFL is totally different from college, It’s a lot faster. You have to work as a unit. … You’re entering a new system. It’s fun to learn and you’re doing something you love.”

Not exactly earth shattering analysis there and it’s why I’m not that excited about reports from mini camp. It’s nice to hear that Jackson displayed “natural arm talent” and that tight ends of the future Hurst and Andrews showed “good hands” during drills but we all know the true test is playing against some of the league’s best when the lights are on.

3. Building an Offense – There were times last season where it was difficult to watch when the Ravens had the football. Most people would rather look at the improvement shown after the Bye week but I’m still stuck in the past. I sat in the stands watching a hapless unit unable to move the ball against the Chicago Bears last season. It was embarrassing, frustrating, and sickening all at once. At times the schemes and designs appear so simple and rudimentary that you wonder just what the plan is on offense. So, while I think the concerted effort to sign Michael Crabtree and draft Hayden Hurst among others clearly upgraded the personnel I want to see how they will be used and who will be featured when the team has the ball. I also wonder how that scheme will be adapted to their young backup if he enters the game. I have a mixture of concern and excitement and its something I’ll monitor closely over the Summer.

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