Is Courtney Upshaw The Odd Man Out In Free Agency?
It's happening again. Courtney Upshaw is flying far, far beneath the radar.
Upshaw has always been the Ravens' gritty linebacker that plays the unheralded edge-setting role and gets little attention for it. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that his pending free-agency status is rarely discussed.
A fan recently asked ESPN's Jamison Hensley if the lack of chatter should be interpreted as a foregone conclusion that Upshaw will be the odd man out and the priority is to re-sign teammates Kelechi Osemele and Justin Tucker.
Actually, no. Upshaw's underrated status could become the Ravens' gain.
"I wouldn't agree that Upshaw is the odd man out," wrote Hensley. "I could be wrong, but I don't expect Upshaw to have a huge market in free agency because he didn't put up big numbers in his contract year."
For outside linebackers to get a big payday, they usually need sacks, sacks and more sacks. That's how Pernell McPhee priced himself out of Baltimore last year after amassing 7.5 sacks in a contract season.
Upshaw has always loved his role as a run defender, but coming into 2014, he wanted to prove he could do more, including getting after the passer. While he wasn't wishing for an injury, Upshaw couldn't have asked for a better opportunity after teammate Terrell Suggs went down with a torn Achilles in Week 1.
But Upshaw really didn't produce more sacks.
It took until late November to notch his first sack by blindsiding Rams quarterback Case Keenum and knocking the ball out with one minute remaining in the fourth quarter. The Ravens won the game five plays later. It was a big moment, but he only had two sacks the entire season and a total of five during his four-year career in Baltimore.
While that will hurt his free-agency options, the Ravens have always loved Upshaw and praised him for his durability, reliability and team-first attitude. They would be happy to get him back.
"The Ravens like Upshaw because he's reliable (Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees pointed out that Upshaw didn't miss a practice all year) and does a lot of the dirty work in setting the edge," wrote Hensley. "This might be a case where he has more value to the Ravens than other teams."
8 Takeaways From Insane Super Bowl Media Night
It feels like yesterday when the Ravens entered Bizarro World when they met with media in New Orleans a few days before Super Bowl XLVII.
A similar insanity descended upon in San Francisco last night with the Broncos and Panthers, and it felt fitting to highlight a few of the takeaways from the evening:
1) There was A LOT of media and crazy characters.
2) To the surprise of no one, Peyton Manning has no answer to the retirement question.
3) Cam Newton claims he has a Superbaby that can walk at just one-month old.
4) Manning has already declared the Super Bowl's MVP, and it's Newton.
5) Panthers cornerback Josh Norman apparently pretends to be a different Hollywood action figure for each game, and I guess it's Nacho Libre this time around?
6) Broncos Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips pulls out the bling, and is brutally honest.
7) Newton finally explains the pants!
8) The Broncos' bus got into a small crash, and Manning called it 'exciting.'
Ranking Ravens' Two Super Bowl Wins
Which Ravens Super Bowl was better?
With the 50th championship game just a few days away now, ESPN's John Clayton ranked the previous 49, and he ranked lights-out Super Bowl XLVII at No. 12.
That was a whopping 35 spots ahead of Super Bowl XXXV, when Ray Lewis and the best defense in the history of the game trounced the New York Giants 34-7.
In terms of excitement, it probably wasn't very fun for the nation to see a team be dominated in the final game of the year. Audiences want close games and drama.
The 2012 battle for the Lombardi Trophy had it all. After the Ravens jumped out to a huge lead, the lights bizarrely went out in the stadium. After a long delay, he 49ers made things interesting with a near comeback. But the Baltimore defense held them off in the final seconds with a debated and controversial win.
LaQuan Williams' Super Bowl Ring Sells For $62K
Bidding at Goldin Auctions has been closed, and former Ravens wide receiver LaQuan Williams' Super Bowl ring has been sold for $62,220.
Four former Ravens have sold their Super Bowl XLVII rings, and the Terp alum's rings came in at the highest price.
Safety Omar Brown: $43,920
Running back Damien Berry: $43,000
Running back Jamal Lewis (received a ring as a gift because of his Ring of Honor status): $50,820
Team receptionist Toni Lekas: $26,730