Former Raven Haloti Ngata has reached the end of his contract and will hit the free agent market for the first time in his 11 season career. The prospect of a reunion with the Ravens might seem nice to some sentimental fans, but to this writer the only contract that the Ravens should hand out to Haloti Ngata is a one-day contract to retire as a Raven.
First, Haloti is 32 years old, an age that is not typically kind to defensive players, especially nose tackles playing above 300 pounds. The Ravens already have one aging defensive lineman in Chris Canty, a player they will likely part with, and they don't need another. The Ravens made a good decision to trade Haloti Ngata to the Lions, as they got a promising young player and avoided paying an aging player $16 million. Second, Haloti had one of the worst years of his career, with a career-low 24 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and three pass deflections. The Ravens got rid of Haloti Ngata right on time. Third, Haloti's health has been on the decline for years. Haloti played 14 games this season and he hasn't played a full 16 game season since 2011. And frankly, it's doubtful that he's going to get any healthier at age 32. And finally, the Ravens are stacked at defensive line. Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan, Carl Davis, Lawrence Guy, Brent Urban, and the team will probably take another defensive lineman in the draft, whether that be DeForest Buckner or someone else.
Haloti Ngata had a good career and he helped the Ravens out a lot during his nine seasons here. But the only contract the Ravens should give him is a one-year deal that will allow him to take his place in the Ravens Ring of Honor and maybe the Hall of Fame.