USA TODAY Sports
The Super Bowl Champs might be getting the most press regarding losing key players to other teams through free agency, but they are far from the only team.
While the Ravens defense will have a distinctly different look in 2013, the offense is still relatively intact, notwithstanding the trade of Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers. Speaking of the Niners, the Ravens Super Bowl victims might have gained an excellent wide receiver, but some of their former players were scooped up as well by other teams.
In the AFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals both lost key contributors with the Steelers list almost as lengthy as the Ravens. Pittsburgh has parted ways with WR Mike Wallace, LB James Harrison, RB Rashard Mendenhall, CB Keenan Lewis and OL Willie Colon.
The New England Patriots may have made a big splash in signing safety Adrian Wilson and WR Danny Amendola, but they lost WR Wes Welker, safety Patrick Chung, CB Aqib Talib and OT Sebastien Vollmer. The Houston Texans are wooing Ravens safety Ed Reed but lost LB Conner Barwin.
Over in the NFL, in addition to the 49ers losing WR/KR Ted Ginn and DT Ricky Jean Francois, the Atlanta Falcons, while signing Steven Jackson, gave up on RB Michael Turner and DE John Abraham. The Green Bay Packers are not without two key contributors on either side of the ball in DB Charles Woodson and WR Greg Jennings , although there still is a chance that Jennings may return to them if the grass is not greener on the other side of the fence.
The point here is, while the Ravens will be rebuilding their defense, many of the other playoff contenders will be looking at gaping holes on their teams as this is the result of the combination of the salary cap and free agency. Players know they can get the big money, especially for their second NFL contracts and while some teams are handcuffed by the cap, others have deep pockets of cash ready to plop down in front of players to entice them to put on another team's jersey.
This is the NFL. Get used to it.