Tuesday's Mailbag: June 18th, 2013

Matt Elam pumps up the crowd during his reign as a Florida Gator. - Sam Greenwood

11 questions are answered about the Baltimore Ravens, including; McKinnie instant starter, definition of successful season, and quarterbacks with $100 million contracts.

Happy Tuesday, Ravens Nation! It's that time of the week again, when I answer questions sent to me by football fans, mainly Ravens fans, about the Baltimore Ravens. In this week's segment, I am going to add a little something. I will now be telling me who asked me the question, just to give credit to them. This week, unfortunately, I only had a few questions sent in. So this won't be as entertaining as usual! Let's get started.

Q1: Quarterbacks that have signed a $100 million contract, how did they do the following season? - Baltimore Bench (Baltimorebeatdown.com)

This question isn't about the Ravens, but I still found it interesting, so I am going to answer it.

I have found 6 times where a quarterback has signed that large of a contract. (not the few that have this off-season):

  • Drew Bledsoe: Signed a 10-year/$103 million contract with the New England Patriots in 2001. The following season, Bledsoe suffered a sheared blood vessel in his chest during the second game vs. the New York Jets. Bledsoe didn't return until the AFC Championship, where he had a game-winning, 60-yard drive against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl that year, with Brady quarterbacking, not Bledsoe.
  • Donovan McNabb: Signed a 12-year/$115 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2002. The following season, McNabb had a pretty great season. In Week 11, he fractured his fibula in three places, but returned to play the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs. He defeated them, but lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game.
  • Daunte Culpepper: Signed a 10-year/$102 million contract with the Minnesota Vikings in 2003. The following season, Culpepper had a decent season, as he threw for 3,479 yards and 25 touchdowns. The Vikings did not qualify for the playoffs.
  • Michael Vick: Signed a 10-year/$130 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons in 2004. The following season, Vick threw for 2,313 yards and 14 touchdowns. He became the first NFL quarterback to throw for over 250 yards and rush for over 100 yards in a postseason game. The Falcons lost to the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.
  • Carson Palmer: Signed a 9-year/$119 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2005. The following season, Palmer had the best season of his career. He passed for over 4,000 yards for the first time in Bengals franchise history, and he was voted to his second straight Pro-Bowl. Unfortunately for him, the Bengals went 8-8 and failed to make the playoffs.
  • Ben Roethlisberger: Signed an 8-year/$102 million contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008. The following season, Roethlisberger won Super Bowl XL on a game-winning drive which ended in a touchdown to WR Santonio Holmes. This sums up Roethlisberger's 2008 season.
  • Michael Vick: Signed a 6-year/$100 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011. The following season, after having an outstanding 2010 season, Vick led the Eagles to an 8-8 season, missing the playoffs.
  • Drew Brees: Signed a 5-year/$100 million contract with the New Orleans Saints in 2012. Brees broke Johnny Unitas' streak of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass in Week 5; he ended up with 54 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Brees' Saints missed the playoffs in 2012, but Brees was selected to the Pro-Bowl for the fifth time in his career (injury replacement.)
Overall, all of these quarterbacks had decent seasons after they signed their big paychecks. We'll see if Romo, Rodgers, and Flacco can do the same in 2013.

Q2: What would determine a successful season next year for the Ravens in your eyes? - Wolves United, Sports-Lite.com

In my eyes, our season would be successful if we make it to the playoffs and give it our all. If we make the playoffs and I see that all of the guys on the team try hard to win, then I will label it a successful season. Remember, there are 20 teams that miss the playoffs every year; it is an honor to be in the 12 that make it, especially for the 6th consecutive season.

As long as we make the playoffs, I won't be disappointed.

Q3: How do you see Arthur Brown and Matt Elam filling the huge shoes of Ed Reed and Ray Lewis? - Ace, Sports-Lite.com

I see them filling their shoes very well.

Arthur Brown, even though he's injured, is looking productive and well. Brown worked well at minicamp and fit in well with the defense. Brown, in college, looked a lot like Ray Lewis, just much skinnier. Arthur Brown has huge shoes to fill, but as long as he can come back healthy, I see him making a big impact in Ray Lewis' old spot.

Matt Elam was our first-round draft pick and looks to be our possible best safety. Elam looked very well in minicamp, as he intercepted quarterback Joe Flacco once. Ed Reed was known as a ball-hawk, but Elam has the potential to be the exact same. Elam looks to be our most promising rookie this season, and I hope he meets expectations that many Ravens fans have.

The two rookies look to be getting along well, and it looks as if the two could be like a Lewis-Reed pair. We'll see what happens once the season starts.

Q4: Will Torrey Smith be able to accept that he is the #1 wide receiver? Who complements him on the other side? - Ace, Sports-Lite.com

It seems as if Smith has already accepted the fact that he is the number one wide receiver. Torrey Smith is looking to be more loyal, more productive, and more of a leader this year. Smith is emerging as a fan favorite and he is embracing it. I love that Torrey Smith will be the #1 WR this year, as I believe he deserves it, and he will catch more balls this year than any other season in his career.

Although this isn't a popular pick, I think Jacoby Jones will be the #2 WR. He is a skilled, fast veteran that has been important to the offense as of late. Jones is perfectly capable of handling the #2 spot, as the younger guys will fight for the #3 spot.

Q5: Should the Ravens pursue Desmond Bishop? - @Red_Head_Ed

If you guys didn't know, Bishop was cut by the Packers on Monday.

Desmond Bishop is 28-years old and wouldn't be that expensive. It would be interesting for the Ravens to pursue Bishop, but I don't really think they should. Bishop was a productive player for the Packers in the last few years, but he is also coming off of a hamstring injury.

The Ravens aren't in too much need for a LB, so I don't see the Ravens having any need to pursue Bishop. If they did, I wouldn't hate it, I just don't see much of a point.

The Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs are two possible landing spots for Desmond Bishop.

Q6: With the remaining cap money, do the Ravens shop for a WR, sign an existing player to a long-term deal, or just save it for next year? - @FireNoob

I say just save it for next year. In my mind, the Ravens are all set for this year, and they don't really need to pick up any players. I think the entire team will be very good, as there are so many talented players.

If Ozzie wants to give a little money to an existing player, because they deserve it, then I'm fine with it. I just think the smartest thing for the Ravens to do would be to save the money for next season.

Q7: How many carries will Pierce take away from Rice this season? - @FireNoob

I think Pierce will take a significant amount of carries away from Rice this season.

I think the carries will be almost equal, if Pierce can play as well as he did last season. If Pierce struggles a lot, I think the majority of the work load will go to Rice. Overall, I think the two will play their position well, and get almost an equal amount of work.

Q8: Who wins starting center? Is Michael Oher a guaranteed starter? - @FireNoob

I've said for awhile that I think Gino Gradkowski will be the starting center. I think Gradkowski will be better than Shipley for this team, even though Shipley has more experience. Gradkowski seems like he'll be a great center and I hope that this is true.

Michael Oher isn't a GUARANTEED starter, but I think he'll get the starting job. I think the offensive line will be almost identical to last season, minus Matt Birk. McKinnie, Oher, Yanda, and others will make up the offensive line this season.

Q9: Does Caleb Hanie beat out Tyrod Taylor for the #2 QB spot? - @FireNoob

I don't think so.

I've never been real impressed with Hanie, and I think Coach Harbaugh likes Taylor as the second-string quarterback. Either way, I think I can speak for Ravens Nation when I say that I don't want either one to have to start for us. I am not too confident in either one as a backup, but if they get the chance to play, I want them to prove me wrong.

Q10: Does Bryant McKinnie win the starting job on Day 1, and if so, what type of impact will he have? - @Red_Head_Ed

According to this article, McKinnie looked amazing in minicamp and the off-season workouts. Coach John Harbaugh seems to be very impressed with the way McKinnie is performing.

After reading that article, I believe he will be the starter from Day 1. As long as McKinnie continues to condition and play the way that Harbaugh is talking about, I see him making a huge impact on the team. McKinnie could possibly become one of the definite stars on the offensive line, as it is looking like he is making terrific progress.

It will be exciting to see if McKinnie keeps performing at a high level, even when the season begins.

Q11: What's worse than looking at this photo? - @Not_RayRice

Embedded image permalink

(Via: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BM-6wKFCMAAzpU9.jpg)

Well, let me think.

No, I have a better idea.

Let's leave it for the readers to decide.

What is worse than looking at this photo? Answer in the comments below!


Well, this is it! That is the end of this week's segment of Tuesday's Mailbag. Have a great rest of your day, Ravens Nation! Only 79 more days until the season opener in Denver! Remember, ask me questions by putting them in the comments below, emailing them to me at Victorgrayh10@gmail.com, OR tweeting them to me @Frezeal33. We need more than 11 questions next time!

IF YOU'RE INTERESTED... My friend and I do a sports podcast every Tuesday at 10:00 PM EST. Come join us tonight to talk all about the latest sports news! http://www.spreecast.com/events/twis61813

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