So your team didn’t win the Super Bowl you say. And they failed to make the post season well it’s a long way to next September. So how do you satisfy your football needs? How do you keep yourself sane without hating the team that represents your conference in the Super Bowl? There are a few ways. You could say, take up golf; I hear that’s relaxing, however good luck finding a course that’s open this time of year. You could start an underground winner take all high stakes Scrabble tournament. Although getting shot over a disagreement of what’s colloquial and what’s not could really put a crink in your spring cleaning arm.
Well it’s early but we can have a look at it anyway, free agency. I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a short list of five unrestricted free agents from 2014 that I think should still be suited up in all black come next season.
Dennis Pitta, TE
Dennis represents a great investment in the running and passing game as most prototypical tight ends do. He has a great pass catching presence and while not an explosive athlete he is consistent when healthy. There were a few reasons why the offense struggled this season but I feel like his absence may have contributed.
Michael Oher, OT
Drafted late in the first round, Michael was a steal falling out of the top ten. He is a great tackle in pass protection and a mauler in the run game. He catches a little flack for being flagged for so many false start penalties but this year he really reined it in and kept it down to just three false starts all season. Another thing to consider, in a season so wrought with turmoil on the offensive line I don’t think Baltimore can afford to let such a consistent high level contributor walk out the door.
Daryl Smith, ILB
Watching 52 walk away from the game it seemed like there was a huge void on the defense. It seemed like Baltimore was going to have to do something drastic to keep from any kind of fall off at the position. It felt like Manning leaving the Colts, it almost felt fair that the Colts went and got whom many where calling the best QB to come out of college in the last 10 years in Andrew Luck. It felt like Baltimore deserved a prodigy at the position. The draft came and they took Arthur Brown in the second round, they picked for need and depth all draft. Nothing wrong with that but it felt almost anti-climactic. Then in the summer they signed Daryl Smith, who has put up career numbers as a member of the murder. 123 total tackles, five sacks, three interceptions and 19 passes defended. I feel like he has bloomed and it would be a mistake to let this rejuvenated backer leave the organization.
James Ihedgibo, S
In his first full season James has been a proven contributor in the passing game and comes down hard in run support. He’s a mean physical safety but even in our hit shy NFL I feel like that is an asset that cannot can be ignored. Not only that but he wants to return the Baltimore Ravens. There is just one thing left to be done, signing him back.
Jacoby Jones WR/KR
It’s not enough to just like Jones for his vertical game. If the Ravens offense was predicated on one speedy receiver they already have Torrey Smith who is well known for his speed. No, Jacoby has another factor that endears him to the Baltimore faithful. And that’s versatility, he also returns kicks. His numbers haven’t slumped at all from his 2013 performance and I think he has plenty left in the tank. I’d like to see the Ravens make a concerted effort to re-sign him as well.
I feel like these players should be at the top of the list of priorities of who should be signed come free agency period. However, as last year showed, the cap limit puts a squeeze on what you’d like to do and forces you to do what you can. In the mean time we have to root for and against the various teams that remain in Super Bowl contention, that is until Tuesday, March 12th and Thursday, May 8th. (The first day of NFL free agency and NFL Draft respectively.)