Let The Franchise Tagging Begin
The franchise tag season has officially begun.
Monday marks the first day that teams can begin franchising players, and they have between now and March 4 to use the designation. That means that the Ravens have the next 14 days to work out a new contract with quarterback Joe Flacco, or they will have to use the one-year tag on the Super Bowl MVP.
"These are extremely expensive, pivotal times for the Ravens, an organization facing major financial and roster decisions surrounding quarterback Joe Flacco," wrote Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.
Contract negotiations with Flacco's agent Joe Linta and Ravens Vice President of Football Administration Pat Moriarty have yet to resume since the two sides called off talks in August. But the talks are expected to pick up again at the scouting combine this week in Indianapolis.
The goal is for the Ravens to work out a deal before the franchise tag deadline, and put an end to a story that could otherwise drag on throughout the offseason.
"This has been the most curious negotiation in the NFL over the past year," ESPN business of football analyst Andrew Brandt told The Sun.
"The key for a front office in making a franchise-defining decision is to not let that sway of emotions rule in business decisions like this. They have clearly prioritized Flacco in a certain market and it is unclear if the postseason performance has changed that."
Cam Cameron Praises Harbaugh
Cam Cameron has started a new chapter of his professional life.
More than two months after being replaced by Jim Caldwell as the Ravens offensive coordinator, Cameron returned to the college ranks as LSU's new offensive coordinator. He will be reunited with longtime friend Les Miles, who was an assistant with Cameron at the University of Michigan early in their careers.
As Cameron was introduced by LSU at a press conference Friday, he thanked the Ravens and John Harbaugh for the time he spent in Baltimore.
"The past five years with John Harbaugh, I would not trade for anything in the world," Cameron said. "We're still great friends to this day. When you love somebody, it's easy to just look at each other in the eye and know that we love each other unconditionally. We understand how things in football, or just things in general, can play out, but it is an opportunity of a lifetime to work with people you care about. There's no downside to it in my mind because the relationship still always trumps anything. For me, my family, it doesn't get any better than this."
Cameron had said previously that Harbaugh's decision to replace him was a “brilliant move” because it served as a wake-up call to everyone in the organization. Despite his mid-season firing, Cameron was the architect of the Ravens offense and Harbaugh has praised the work Cameron did in Baltimore.
Harbaugh has said that Cameron deserves a ring for the Ravens' Super Bowl run, and Cameron told reporters that he felt "nothing buy joy" watching the Ravens celebrate their victory as the confetti fell in the Superdome.
Boldin, Tucker And Josh Charles Appear On Fallon
The national talk show appearances for Ravens stars continued over the weekend, as Anquan Boldin and Justin Tucker were featured on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" along with actor and Baltimore native Josh Charles.
Boldin and Tucker were part of pre-recorded segment with Fallon and Charles where they played "bubble soccer." Boldin teamed up with Charles and Tucker was with Fallon.
It was a humorous segment seeing the football players go head-to-head with Hollywood stars, and you might be surprised at who was the ringer of the group.
McClain Making Progress In Recovery
Linebacker Jameel McClain told BaltimoreRavens.com before the Super Bowl that he expects to make a full recovery from his spinal cord contusion and hopes to be back on the practice field at least by training camp.
It appears he's moving in that direction.
Two league sources familiar with McClain's recovery told Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun that the veteran linebacker is making progress.
"All is progressing well with Jameel," one source told The Baltimore Sun. "The injury requires rest."
The league sources said that the outlook for McClain to play football again is still "positive," echoing what Harbaugh said during the end-of-season press conference.
Best Fits For T'eo
A popular name linked to the Ravens by draft experts has been Notre Dame inside linebacker Manti Te'o. He was once regarded as the top NFL prospect in the country, but his stock has fallen lately and some think he could be available to the Ravens with pick No. 32.
NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks has the Ravens as one of the five best destinations for the Heisman runner up.
"The ceremonious departure of Ray Lewis leaves the Ravens with a crater-sized hole in the middle of the defense," Brooks wrote. "The 17-year veteran set the tone with his toughness and physicality and was the heartbeat of the Ravens with his fiery personality. Although Te'o might not be capable of filling Lewis' shoes as a leader, he is a hard-nosed defender with a rugged game that ideally suits the Ravens' persona."
Brooks said the other top destinations for T'eo are the Giants, Bears, Packers or Bills, but Baltimore might just be the best of all.
"Given Te'o's effectiveness playing behind a big, athletic front line, it is hard to find a better landing spot than Baltimore for the Heisman finalist," he wrote.
- Lewis' career by the numbers and Lewis from A-Z. [The Baltimore Sun]
- The NFL will begin issuing a new aptitude test at the combine this year to supplement the Wonderlic test. According to a league memo, the new test is "designed to provide a comprehensive look at a player's 'non-physical capabilities, aptitudes and strengths.'" [NFL.com]
- NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was paid more than $29 million in 2011. [FOXSports.com]
- @TorreySmithWR: "Happy b-day to MJ..I remember reading how he likes to visualize hitting jumpers...shooting free throws...I've been doing the same ever since." [Twitter]
- Ravens still looking for depth heading into the offseason. [CSNBaltimore.com]
- Cleaning up the penalties will be a priority for the Ravens heading into the 2013 season. The Ravens were the second-most penalized team in the NFL, drawing 121 flags for 1,127 yards. [CSNBaltimore.com]