On March 7, 2017, the NFL’s “legal tampering period” began. Teams are able to contact other teams’ free agents a few days before the 2017 league year begins on March 9th.
Before March 7th, analysts and fans projected which free agents would land on which teams. For Baltimore, the projections have been running wild, as with most years.
Many felt assured that either Brandon Marshall or Pierre Garcon would come to Baltimore to provide a much-needed boost to the passing game. Speculation was drawn upon whether Brandon Williams, Ricky Wagner, and Kyle Juszczyk would don Ravens uniforms in 2017.
As of now, Marshall, Garcon, Wagner, and Juszczyk have all agreed to terms with other teams.
Marshall will pair with Odell Beckham Jr. to give Eli Manning a deadly 1-2 punch. Garcon and Juszczyk both landed in San Francisco to help rebuild a team that won two games in 2016. Wagner set the new market for right tackles with a monster deal in Detroit. There has been no news on Williams yet, other than he is coveted by most teams in the league.
These moves have made sense for each player, and each has equally broken hearts among the Ravens’ faithful.
So, where does that leave Baltimore now?
For many fans and analysts, it probably adds a few concerns. The offensive line already needed help, but Wagner’s official departure emphasizes that. Juszczyk’s departure adds a question mark to the running game, passing game, and blocking game. Missing out on Marshall and Garcon has many fans thinking what could have been.
For Baltimore’s Front Office, however, this was probably to be expected that this point. Wagner and Juszczyk wanted too much money. Marshall and Garcon were obviously prime candidates for many teams. The Front Office has a knack for spending less money for a player who can provide 80% of the production as the player who left and got overpaid.
Aside from the players that Baltimore could not retain, there have been a few who the team have released for salary cap reasons.
Shareece Wright, Kendrick Lewis, and Elvis Dumervil have been released, creating about $11 million in salary cap savings. Reports also state that Dennis Pitta has been approached about a restructured contract. This essentially leaves his future in Baltimore up to him. More salary cap decisions are expected to be made.
These moves are almost certainly focused on obtaining a few free agents before April’s draft.
Although some top options are already off the market before it officially begins, free agency is nowhere near being over.
Riley Reiff and D.J. Fluker are still out there and would be adequate replacements for Wagner. Kenny Britt, Terrelle Pryor, Kendall Wright, and even ex-Raven Torrey Smith are still out there to fill the void at wide receiver. Brandon Williams has yet to agree with another team. There are plenty more moves to be made.
Baltimore is not known for splashy Day One free agency signings, the team prefers to sit back and strike deals that make the most sense for the team.
Ravens fans, who still out there would you like to see Baltimore sign?
Ravens’ Alex Collins Arrested
Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins was arrested early on Friday morning following a car crash about a mile from the Ravens’ team facility, according to a report from the Baltimore Sun.
Per the report: Officers responded to a report of a car that had crashed into a tree on the 10000 block of Dolfield Road at about 6:48 a.m. Friday morning, Baltimore County police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Peach said.
Collins, 24, was arrested, however charges were not made public at the time of this writing.
Ravens vice president of public relations Chad Steele told The Baltimore Sun that the team has spoken with law enforcement and is aware of the situation involving Collins.
Collins is coming off a down year with Baltimore after a breakout campaign in 2017. Collins managed only 411 yards rushing in 2018 and was placed on injured reserve back in December, ending his season early.
Ray Rice Says He Is Done With Football
Former NFL running back Ray Rice, who had been working to try and get a second chance in the NFL over the past couple of years, is no longer pursuing a comeback.
“I’ll be the first one to say it; I don’t have to retire to tell you I’m done with football” Rice said, during an interview on CBS This Morning.
“The pressure I was under of being a star, that was the person I hated the most.”
Rice was suspended indefinitely back in 2014 when a video surfaces showing Rice punching his then-fiancee, now wife, Janay Rice while the two were alone in an elevator.
Rice was never picked up by another team following the conclusion of his suspension, and his release from the Baltimore Ravens.
Rice said that he sees “similarities” between his situation and the one of former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, who was recently cut loose by the team when a video surfaced showing him pushing and kicking a woman in a hallway.
“Somewhere down the line everybody who’s sayin’, ‘Does he deserve a second chance for football?’ And this that and the other— I actually got my second chance” Rice said of Hunt, who cleared waivers and is now a free agent.
“During my darkest moments, and I used to ask myself, ‘How could she even be—want to support me?’ … That’s understandable. But I think what’s misunderstood about us is that the friends we were before the incident. That’s why, like I said, when I look at Kareem Hunt, I wanna know what his life was like. I want to know what happened in life. I know Kareem has apologized, and has expressed remorse for survivors of domestic violence.”
Ravens Trying To Entice Fans With Lower Concession Prices
The Baltimore Ravens are attempting to win back fans and their latest plan is making a big step toward doing just that as the team announced on Tuesday that they will reduce concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium in 2018.
The Ravens have been on a mission to bring back fans who were angered by some players’ national anthem protests coupled with their 3-year playoff drought.
A series of moves have demonstrated their efforts. The team invited fans to ask questions at a media pre-draft news conference held a question-and-answer session with fans at the team facility with owner Steve Bisciotti, coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome, and also have had team president Dick Cass meet and talk to fan clubs.
While the team has sold out every game during their 20-year history at M&T Bank Stadium, empty seats grew in numbers as the 2017 season wore on, and the no-shows are very obvious.
The organization is taking this initiative very seriously.
“It’s something I would really like to take a hard look at, and at least, come up with select items that we can do,” Bisciotti said back in February of this year.
“If it means us … I can’t make Aramark do that with me, but I can make them go along as long as it’s my share of the profits that I’m waiving. Yeah, I’d like to take a look at that. I think we could probably do that.”
There is an official news conference scheduled for Thursday where the Ravens will officially announce price reductions on concessions.
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