There was a lot of talk heading into Super Bowl XLVII of how salary cap strapped the Baltimore Ravens are going to be in 2013. Several veteran players who played a key role on the team that came out on top in the big game are likely to be wearing different colors next season. Here are a few names that the team should do everything it can to keep around if they want to have any hopes of returning to the Super Bowl one year from now.
Clearly this name headlines the list and there is absolutely ZERO chance of Flacco not being in Baltimore come next season. At just 28 years of age, Flacco is in the prime of his career and has just started to accelerate upward in terms of development. It really was just a token gesture to put him on this list, but he is staying with the Ravens.
As relatively unsung hero on the Ravens defense, Kruger was a second round pick in 2009 out of Utah who played defensive end during his collegiate days, but has found a home at pass rushing outside linebacker in the Ravens’ hybrid system. He set career-highs in every statistical category in 2012 and is likely to be a highly sought after commodity on the free agent market. With Terrell Suggs still having a few good years left in him on the other side, bringing Kruger back is a must for the Ravens.
One of my personal favorites, Boldin is quite possibly the most under-appreciated receiver of his era. At 6’1” 220lbs. he is by no means a physically imposing target like the majority of the targets in vogue in today’s NFL. Boldin’s greatest asset is his desire. He has a will to make plays happen and his effort level to achieve that desired goal is second to none. Many point to Boldin as the receiver with the strongest hands in the league able to make catches in traffic that most wouldn’t even dare to attempt. His contract is up and he is scheduled to hit free agency, but the Ravens would be losing a lot more than just another receiver if Boldin goes elsewhere.
My knowledge of the salary cap and the ins and outs of the NFL financial landscape is nowhere near that of Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome, but for a team that just won the Super Bowl, my focus would be on maximizing the small window to win championships now. Boldin is a terrific locker room presence and it would be hard to imagine anyone outworking him on the practice field. He would be welcomed with open arms by any of the 31 other teams in the league should he and the Ravens part ways this offseason.
Now that the Ravens have a championship with their current assembly of talent, their salary cap status is quite precarious which will lead to many teams looking to pilfer players from their roster. If this team has any hope of winning another championship during this time where the window is ajar to do so, bringing back these three players should be atop of their to-do list during the upcoming offseason.