USA TODAY Sports
The salary cap in the NFL is designed to provide a level playing field off the field so that the game is as level as possible on the field.
However, there are still those teams that always find a way to compete year in and year out, and those teams that conversely, always find a way to remain at the bottom of the totem pole every season.The salary cap may limit the ability for the "rich to get richer," but it doesn't necessarily mean that every team has a chance to win every year as intended.
Some teams back up the Brinks trucks the moment free agency begins each year, while others wait for the fallout to settle before picking through the trash heap for hidden gems. Looking back over the years, the teams that seem to make the early and biggest splashes in free agency are rarely the ones that are hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the year.
The teams that seem to be playing meaningful football in December each season, such as the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants and yes, the Baltimore Ravens, are widely known to be quiet spectators in the early hours and even the first few days of free agency.
Yet when the post season rolls around, more often than not these teams are either in the playoffs or at least competing for a spot until the very last week of the season. Meanwhile, the big spenders in free agency are sitting at home in January, wondering where their spending spree went wrong.
The purpose of this story is to tell the masses, many of whom are trashing their home teams for either letting their own players sign with other teams or seeing players they covet around the league sign elsewhere rather with their team, to chill out and wait for the dust to settle.
Ask the Philadelphia Eagles, who thought they had assembled their own version of the "Dream Team," only to see their season go down the drain from the opening game of the season. Football is the ultimate team game, with chemistry just as important as the quality of the individual players.
While the Ravens seemed ready to contend for the Super Bowl at the beginning of the season, many a fan had written them off by the time the latter stages of 2012 came along. However, the team got healthy, the role players meshed with each other and the seemingly impossible became clearly possible.
From the brink of disaster, fans went from thinking the team had no chance in the post season to having every belief that they would bring home the trophy once they made it to New Orleans in a span of less than a month.
That said, all is not lost Ravens fans. Other teams around the league are in a lot worse shape than Baltimore is and would gladly trade their position of having deep pockets due to a ton of salary cap space for the so-called problems the Ravens now are said to have.
The 2013 NFL season is barely 48 hours old and many have written off the Ravens for the upcoming season. A lot of excellent players are still looking for teams and there is still the NFL Draft late next month, as well as the roster cut-down date in early June, where the Ravens have traditionally found key parts to their team each year.
Step back from that ledge my friend, and get back in your seats and watch the Ravens front office do what they have done more than any other team in the NFL over the past half-decade, and that is, as the late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis was known to say, "Just win, baby!"