It was sort of love at first sight for Ozzie Newsome and Benjamin Watson. While scouting this year's free agent class, Newsome says he only had to watch a handful of plays on tape of Watson to know that he was their guy.
"After the first 10 plays, I go, ‘That’s the guy we want,’" Newsome said. "We already knew about the intangibles, but to see him, how productive he was on the field, I knew he was the guy we should target."
It's quite impressive that just a few minutes of tape were able to win over the Hall of Fame tight end Newsome, who is one of the greatest ever to play the position.
The Ravens were quick and aggressive in pursuing the veteran tight end, who began talks on Monday afternoon and agreed to terms the very next day.
Watson acknowledged that it wasn't just money, but also the Ravens' team culture and history that led him to sign with Baltimore.
"Having played against the Ravens for many years, there’s definitely respect there," he said. "There are certain teams in the NFL who have a certain aura about them, and there’s a certain respect level that, even if they didn’t have the greatest year or whatever, you know that that team is going to be competitive overall."
In turn, the Ravens are also happy to have Watson too. While the 35-year-old is certainly past his best playing days, the experience that he brings to the table is unrivaled. The Ravens certainly covet and need his experience, as their tight ends Boyle, Williams, and Gillmore, while promising, are all under the age of 25 and need a veteran presence around them.
While the signing of Watson may have brought some ire from Ravens' fans, it may have been a wise use of funds. With the team's tight end situation for next year murky at best since Gillmore and Pitta are injured and Boyle is suspended, Watson may serve as a rock for the offense to build upon.