NFL Power Rankings: Pats on top -- as for the other 31 teams - Elliot Harrison
The relevant news out of Baltimore in the run-up to the Super Bowl was the decision to re-up coach John Harbaugh, giving him four more years to deliver the franchise its third Lombardi Trophy. Although GM Ozzie Newsome has left, the stability atop this organization merits praise. Over the last 20 years, Baltimore has been led by two coaches: Brian Billick and Harbaugh. Each led his team to an NFL title. While not everyone views Harbaugh as a premier head coach, it is difficult to find fault with his overall track record: seven playoff appearances, three trips to the AFC title game and that aforementioned Super Bowl crown. He’s endured one losing season during that time. It also appears he made the right call in going with rookie Lamar Jackson at QB in 2018. Will it continue to look like the right call? We’ll all find out together. Wondering how many people know that Ted Marchibroda was the first head coach this franchise ever had -- and that he also led the Colts for two different stints, once in Baltimore and once in Indy.
Elsewhere in the AFC North, Harrison ranks the Steelers 15th, the Browns 16th and the Bengals 27th.
Eric DeCosta Might Spend More on Offense - John Eisenberg
In recent years, they’ve invested a lot more in their defense than their offense. Wait, let me put that differently. They’ve invested a lot more in their defense when you subtract the huge chunk of the cap Flacco’s contract represented.
In 2018, they ranked No. 8 in the league in defensive investment and No. 15 in offensive investment, according to Spotrac. (That’s the percentage of their cap total invested in each unit, as compared to other teams.) But if you removed Flacco’s salary from the calculation, the Ravens ranked in the lower fourth of the league in offensive investment.
In recent years, for example, the Ravens have consistently lost quality offensive linemen (Kelechi Osemele, Rick Wagner, Ryan Jensen) for cap reasons. It was understandable, but the result was more of a blue-collar O-line, which struggled at times in 2018. Now a top veteran center, Denver’s Matt Paradis, is about to hit free agency, and the Ravens can at least talk about it.
Constructing a top tier line should be a major priority for Greg Roman’s offense. Rodger Saffold appears to be the best unrestricted free agent guard.
2019 Potential Cuts: Wide Receiver - Jason Fitzgerald
Michael Crabtree, Ravens
Cap Saved: $4.67M; Cash Saved: $7M; Dead Money: $4.67M
Crabtree struggled with his hands most of the season and finished the season with the lowest per game totals of his career. Crabtree had looked like his career had taken a downward turn in his final year in Oakland and nothing changed this year to make anyone think otherwise. Crabtree is not finished but he also is no longer a $7 million receiver.
DeVante Parker, Dolphins
Cap Saved: $9.39M; Cash Saved: $9.39M; Dead Money: $0
Parker completely fell out of favor with the team last season which lead to a pretty public spat between the team and his agent. Parker finished the season with a career low 309 yards, 134 of which came in one game. Now it is possible that this rift was all related to former coach Adam Gase, but given the Dolphins cap situation and likely decision to rebuild it would make little sense to pay Parker $9.4 million for a season. His salary becomes guaranteed on the first day of free agency.
DeVante Parker could be a worthwhile reclamation project for the Ravens. The former #14 selection in the 2015 draft just turned 26 years old and has a career average of 13.6 yards per reception.