By Nick Villano @nick_villano on April 29, 2014
The Baltimore Ravens were last year's defending champions. Their season started on a bad note when they were trounced by the Denver Broncos in the opening game. It never really turned around completely as they ended the season .500 and out of the playoffs. There will be more expected out of Joe Flacco and the Ravens in 2014. These five guys will have a lot of pressure to perform.
Chris Canty came to the Ravens last season after being cut by the Giants. He provided stability at the end position that saw a lot of turnover. The expensive part of his contract starts this season, and gets worse in 2015. If he wants to get paid, then he needs to prove he is worth the contract he was given.
Is there any more obvious pick for this list in the NFL? After a terrible season on the field, Ray Rice was all over the tabloids after security footage of his fiance falling out of an elevator in Atlantic City surfaced. There were rumors swirling that the Ravens would cut their losses on Rice. He is still there, but he needs to have a bounce back year to stay there for long.
Owen Daniels was easily replaced last season by Garrett Graham in Houston. Was that a sign of two very talented tight ends, or Daniels being the product of his offense? This is the first time he will be with a new franchise. He needs to show he can still be a game changer at the tight end position.
The Ravens recently took the fifth-year option on cornerback Jimmy Smith. The 2011 first-round pick will go from a salary of a tad less than .4 million to just under million a year later. None of his 2015 salary is guaranteed, so if he doesn't produce this season he could see himself looking for work elsewhere. He is a very productive player for the Ravens, but they have shown that money can make players expendable.
Elvis Dumervil is one year removed from his fax machine fiasco, and he proved he was a big piece to lose. Can he continue to hold together a defense that is still feeling the losses of two years ago? His salary escalates from million base to million base from 2014 to 2015. If he is going to make that in a Ravens uniform, he needs to duplicate his production, if not surpass it.
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