Many fans think that NFL veteran free agents follow the money to the greenest pastures that they can get. Since NFL contracts are not fully guaranteed like they are in Major League Baseball, players need that big payday, with up front money, to ensure their financial freedom for the rest of their lives.
The lifespan of an NFL player is relatively short in comparison to the other major professional sports, so the dollar amount talks real loud. As true as this may be, it is not always the case when it comes to playing for the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens are widely known around the league as being one of the most successful and classy organizations in football. Furthermore, the family-like atmosphere in the locker room is something that all new players to join the team mention as one that is almost unique around the league. The feeling of being accepted, welcomed and the camaraderie, is significantly more important than it is being given credit for.
Sure, there are those players who will always take the highest contract, but perhaps those are the players the Ravens do not want on their roster. Players want teams to "show me the money!" but also want that chance at the ring. Ask any veteran player what the ultimate goal is, and odds are they will mention the Super Bowl ring before they talk about the big bucks.
Looking back over the years, you can come up with a list of veteran players that have joined the Ravens for perhaps that one shot of finishing their careers as Super Bowl Champions. As recently as this week, both Elvis Dumervil and Michael Huff have agreed to contracts that are clearly below their market value. This is partly due to the salary cap, but just as much due to their feeling of the bond they see between their soon-to-be teammates and that chance at the elusive diamond-studded Super Bowl ring.
To be honest, as mentioned above, that is not always the case, but all around the league, there are players that would give up huge chunks of their contracts to wear the Ravens colors. The team knows this, the players know this and Ravens fans know this as well.
Be proud to be a Ravens fan.