NFL teams have many decisions to make each year, from the draft, to contract negotiations, to free agent signings. Some work out well and others come back to bite them. For example, the Ravens had to let pass rusher Pernell McPhee walk in free agency after he received a large offer from the Chicago Bears, but in hindsight it would have been worth their while to try to squeeze him under the cap. On the other hand, many times a player leaves and his replacement fills in admirably, or even exceeds his performance, like Rick Wagner did when Michael Oher left town.
Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun asked the question yesterday, Which ex-Ravens in Super Bowl 50 would Baltimore want back?
His conclusion basically mirrors what most of us would answer, which is: essentially none!
1. Darian Stewart, Broncos safety: One of the bigger missteps for the Ravens last offseason was not re-signing Stewart, who became a playmaker for the Broncos. That became apparent from the season opener against Baltimore (Stewart sealed the Broncos' win with an interception in the end zone) to the AFC Championship Game (critical interception of Tom Brady). Would the Ravens want him back? Definitely. He was the 10th-best safety, according to Pro Football Focus. Baltimore replaced him with Kendrick Lewis, who graded out as No. 70.
If you were to say yes to one player, it would be Stewart. But Stewart, while a decent player in Baltimore, was given a nice raise to go to Denver. So while he might have upgraded the Ravens secondary slightly, he would not have made much of a difference and would have looked alot less impressive in a secondary that did not contain 3 Pro Bowl caliber players like T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib, and Chris Harris Jr. So for this one, I would have to disagree with Hensley and say no thanks.
2. Michael Oher, Panthers offensive tackle: Oher is going to be a popular story at the Super Bowl because of the "Blind Side" angle. Let's not gloss over the fact that he's a below average left tackle. Only six left tackles were graded lower than Oher this season by Pro Football Focus. Oher allowed four sacks and committed five penalties. Would the Ravens want him back? Not really. The Ravens have uncertainty at left tackle with Eugene Monroe's disappointing season, but they have to hope they can do better than Oher. I'm not sure converted guard Kelechi Osemele or a top pick like Ronnie Stanley is the answer. They do, however, have more upside than Oher.
Oher got overpaid when he left, and Rick Wagner was a top 3 right tackle in 2014 before regressing post injury last season. However, on a rookie 5th round contract, Wagner was right player, right price for the Ravens in light of Oher's Tennessee deal, and subsequent similar sized deal with the Carolina Panthers.
3. Owen Daniels, Broncos tight end: He remains a middle of the road tight end at this point of his career. He put up nearly identical numbers to his catch totals in 2014 with the Ravens (46 receptions for 517 yards receiving and three touchdowns). Daniels made his biggest impact of the season in the AFC Championship Game, where he scored two touchdowns. Would the Ravens want him back? No, there's just no room with Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle.
4. Ed Dickson, Panthers tight end: He is a solid, all-around backup who often gets overlooked because he plays with Greg Olsen. He managed 26 catches and only averaged 7.1 yards per catch. Would the Ravens want him back?No. See above with Daniels.
Daniels was solid for a season in Baltimore, and was a veteran for Crockett Gillmore to lean on and learn from. However, the Ravens are now loaded at the position with the 3 youngsters.
5. Dwan Edwards, Panthers defensive end: The former 2004 second-round pick has put together a long career as a backup. Edwards is averaging 30 snaps per game. Would the Ravens want him back? No. The Ravens have good, young depth along the defensive line.
No. The Ravens have found better or similar caliber talents in the later rounds (Arthur Jones, DeAngelo Tyson), undrafted free agency (Lawrence Guy), and the free agent bargain bin (Cory Redding, Chris Canty).
There also was Graham Gano, Derek Anderson, and Robert Myers, but none of them played even a regular season snap for the Ravens.