Bleacherreport recently posted "Every NFL Team’s Riskiest Move So Far This Offseason", and it got me thinking what risky moves the Ravens made. There are a few in fact.
- Cutting Eugene Monroe
This gets very mixed reviews, but I do think that cutting Eugene is risky. When healthy (I know I know. . .) Eugene was a good left tackle. Coming into this season having an established veteran left tackle to not only play, but also mentor the rookie would have been helpful. If Stanley struggles, Eugene is still there to work with. Also, the Ravens have a dead cap of $2.2 million in 2016, and $4.4 million in 2017. Maybe keeping him around to at least test the waters in 2016 would have helped, and I believe it is risky coming in with a rookie left tackle to protect Joe Flacco coming back from ACL surgery.
2. Losing Kelechi Osemele
Just like bleacherreport, losing KO in free agency is worrisome. The man was versatile on the left side, going from guard to left tackle and performing well in both areas. Now, we didn’t have the money to keep him, and he wanted to cash a paycheck, but this does leave Baltimore without any true depth. While Urschel performed adequately in his limited time at center/guard, he can’t guarantee the blocking like Kelechi. But, I want to reiterate Baltimore didn’t have the money to pay the man, and they can’t be completely at fault for losing Osemele. Baltimore couldn’t top a 5 yr. / $58.5 million deal with $25.4 million guaranteed.
3. Signing Benjamin Watson
I’m very thankful Baltimore signed this man, but it comes as a risky move in my book. The Ravens signed him as a safety blanket, and as a mentor for the very young tight end group of Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle. He is an upstanding person off the field, being a Walter Payton Man of the Year finalist last year. Quick reminder beloved former Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin won the award over Watson, good job Q.
Getting back to it, Benjamin Watson is sitting on a 2 yr. / $7 million deal. Absolutely not a bad thing, but the man had his best year last season at age 35. He benefited from a Jimmy Graham-less Saints offense, being force-fed touches. If he can’t perform, there is a chance Baltimore cuts him. Right now there are seven tight ends on the roster:
- Dennis Pitta
- Crockett Gillmore
- Maxx Williams
- Benjamin Watson
- Nick Boyle
- Darren Waller
- Daniel Brown
If the Ravens go with three or four tight ends Watson could be the odd man out. Crockett Gillmore is a lock, as is Maxx Williams. That’s two. Then there is the question of Dennis Pitta. If healthy, his chemistry with Joe is insurmountable. Now the big question, which I feel happens, Nick Boyle goes over Ben. Nick has failed two PED tests, and is going to miss the first ten games of the 2016 season, but could be a building block moving forward. He’s only 23 years old, and passes the eye test for TE2. This would leave the Ravens with a $4 million dead cap hit this season, and in 2017 a measly $1 million dead cap hit. What also matters is signing Watson canceled a possible compensatory pick, and if we cut Ben, we lost the opportunity for a comp pick, and $4 million cap this season. It will be a very interesting training camp, I look forward to this positional battle greatly.