After two stressful days of reading various teams sign the Ravens top-notch free agents and their AFC North rivals sign deals or make trades, the Baltimore Ravens have entered the chat and they’re making waves with the expected signings of FS Earl Thomas and RB Mark Ingram. With the news, Baltimore Beatdown contributors decided to share their instant reactions to the news.
Kyle P Barber
Since Ed Reed’s ride off into the sunset (by that I mean finessing the Texans for a cool $5 million on his way out the door), the Ravens have been at a loss in the free safety department. They’ve signed many safeties since then, but nobody with the range and coverage skills to match or compare, until now. Earl Thomas is superhuman and the Ravens are getting a dominant playmaker. I couldn’t be more excited for the signing.
I’m also happy about Mark Ingram joining the Ravens. He’s a solid tailback with a great skill-set to pair with Lamar Jackson. I wrote about it earlier when the Ravens offered him a deal.
All in all, fantastic news and some excitement as Ravens fans were getting antsy.
Eric DeCosta’s first big free agency swing comes out of thin air, and is a welcome one for Baltimore. Thomas is an immediate upgrade at what they had at safety (all due respect to Eric Weddle) and rounds out what looks to be the league’s best secondary. Missing out on Le’Veon Bell hurts but the signing of Thomas and Mark Ingram at around and 18 million dollar total cap hit suddenly has them back in the mix for a division that was being handed to Cleveland 12 hours ago.
Earl Thomas is the best free safety since Baltimore’s own Ed Reed and fills the biggest hole the Ravens #1 defense had last season. Thomas is a true ballhawk on the backend and will allow Tony Jefferson to flourish in the box and close to the line of scrimmage. Losing Eric Weddle, C.J. Mosley, and Terrell Suggs was a huge blow to the unit, but Thomas will help fill the void in leadership. The defense still needs an edge rusher and possibly inside linebacker, but this is an excellent signing that will keep Baltimore competitive this season in a division filled with offensive firepower.
Mark Ingram for $5 million a year is an absolutely beautiful signing. Ingram is the power back that will excel with Lamar Jackson in Greg Roman’s run-heavy scheme. Ingram was overshadowed by Alvin Kamara in New Orleans, but he is a solid pass catcher and blocker and certainly an upgrade over what was on the roster. Eric DeCosta’s patience paid off in a big way with these two signings.
Frank J. Platko
Earl Thomas was a dream signing for the Ravens that I don’t think anyone saw coming. While he’s coming off an injury and isn’t getting any younger, Thomas is still the best overall safety in the league and the significance of this signing cannot be understated. Thomas is a fairly big upgrade over Eric Weddle and makes for a more natural fit alongside Tony Jefferson. His range and ball skills are reminiscent of Ed Reed and with the Browns acquiring Odell Beckham Jr., the acquisition of Thomas is a chess move.
While getting Le’Veon Bell would have been more ideal, settling for Mark Ingram is a more than suitable consolation prize. Ingram isn’t a flashy running back but he’s been quite effective for several years now. His downhill running style makes for a seamless fit in Greg Roman’s scheme and he should be able to quickly develop a nice chemistry with Lamar Jackson. Ingram is an underrated receiving threat and is potent in the redzone. Getting him for $5 million over three years is really good value.
Just when it seemed Eric DeCosta was conceding that 2019 would be a rebuilding season, he lands the best free agent in the league. After years of searching for a ballhawking centerfielder safety, Baltimore has agreed to terms with the best in the game today.
Earl Thomas will be the Ravens most impactful free agent signing since Rod Woodson. His ability to play single high will allow the Ravens to drop Tony Jefferson into the box to stop the run, daring quarterbacks to test the most talented secondary in the league. Thomas was the best possible addition the Ravens could make this offseason.
As for Mark Ingram, it is usually unwise to spend on veteran running backs. However, Greg Roman’s scheme coupled with Ingram’s reasonable salary make this decision palatable.
If the front office can add another complementary piece and ace the draft, the 2019 roster will be considerably better than 2018’s, departures included. The future is bright in Baltimore with DeCosta at the helm.