A couple of days ago I released an article explaining why I thought Joe Flacco HAD to be signed to a long term deal by the Baltimore Ravens, this piece managed to spark a little debate between me and a reader on my Google+ page about how much Joe is worth to the Ravens; should he take a little less money to let the franchise build more around him or should he try to get paid the money he thinks he deserves?
Let me put it to you in a more specific way, with Ed Reed, Sean Considine, Dannell Ellerbe, James Ihedigbo, Paul Kruger, Bryant Mckinnie, Cary Williams and a few others set to be unrestricted free agents after this year, who is worth retaining and who isn’t if the team needs to pay Flacco the big bucks to stay?
Bear in mind that while I know which guys will and which guys won’t be unrestricted free agents this year, I do not have intimate knowledge of the Ravens cap situation and who it’s possible to re-sign and not, so you’ll have to live with my gross generalizations which are from my personal opinion.
From the list of players above, three stick out like a sore thumb to me; McKinnie, Idedigbo and Considine should all be allowed to go into free agency (good luck guys), despite being serviceable players, when it comes to re-signing a potential Super Bowl winning QB it’s a no contest.
With those three gone it gets a little bit tougher, what does Ed Reed want contract wise now that he’s said he will be back next year? Is the future of our defense Kruger and Ellerbe? Is Cary Williams really someone the team needs to keep around?
From a business standpoint, as I have written about earlier, if the Ravens win the Super Bowl, then keeping a 35-year old Ed Reed around might not be good business, although it could be nice for the team to transition through Ed without Ray Lewis around, I don’t think it would be necessary.
For the sake of the team I really believe that Kruger and Ellerbe should be the two most important re-signings after Flacco, and I don’t see a lot of debate arising from that as they both look set to be huge pieces for the Ravens in the years to come. Finally, Cary Williams remains a bit of an enigma to me – yes, he’s flashed talent, but is he going to be worth what he will be asking for if Jimmy Smith is going to be wanting one of those top-two corner spots next year? Tough question and I’m not sure I know the answer but I would be inclined to say that Williams isn’t the highest priority on this list of unrestricted free agents.
To summarize, if Flacco needs lot of room for his contract then only Ellerbe and Kruger should be coming back (sorry Ed Reed, you’re still my hero), but if Flacco is a team player then Reed and maybe Williams should find their way back onto the team as well.
Ravens front office, do your best!