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Late For Work 3/29: Ravens 'Monitoring' Two Pro Bowl Left Tackles


Ravens 'Monitoring' Two Pro Bowl Left Tackles

Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti said last week that Eugene Monroe "is our left tackle going into next year."

Media pundits think that could still change.

According to The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec, the Ravens continue to be interested in the left tackle market. While the top free agents at the position have already signed, others could still be released.

"The Ravens are monitoring the potential availability of the Denver BroncosRyan Clady and the New York JetsD'Brickashaw Ferguson," Zrebiec wrote.

"The Jets have been noncommittal on Ferguson, but they reportedly want him to take a pay cut. Clady, meanwhile, is on the trading block after the Broncos signed former Seattle Seahawk Russell Okung."

Clady is a four-time Pro Bowler (2009, 2011, 2012, 2014) who suffered a torn ACL last May, knocking him out for the entire 2015 season.

Entering his ninth season, Clady is reportedly due $9.5 million next season and $10 million in 2017. Clady was willing to restructure his contract in order to stay, according to the Associated Press, but that may not be in the cards anymore with Okung now on the books.

Like Clady, Ferguson is another former first-round pick (No. 4 overall in 2006). He went to the Pro Bowl each year from 2009-2011 but hasn't been at that level for the past several years, per Pro Football Focus (PFF). He was PFF's 62nd best NFL left tackle last season.

One thing Ferguson definitely has in his corner is durability, which is something Monroe has struggled with the past two years in Baltimore. Ferguson has never missed a start during his 10-year career.

"Trading for either player doesn't make much sense, because the Ravens don't want to give up draft picks or inherit a bad contract," Zrebiec wrote. "But if either is waived, I'd expect the Ravens to at least kick the tires."

Zrebiec said Bisciotti's comment on Monroe "doesn't really change a whole lot" because Monroe would likely be a post-June 1 release anyway.

"So the team still has two months to see whether it can acquire an upgrade on Monroe," Zrebiec wrote. "If not, Monroe is a preferable option to James Hurst, De'Ondre Wesley or Rick Wagner."

Rex Ryan: Ed Reed Can Be A Head Coach In 5 Years

Ed Reed's NFL coaching career began two months ago when his longtime coach and friend, Rex Ryan, called up and convinced Reed (and his son) to join the Buffalo Bills' coaching staff as an assistant defensive backs coach.

Now Ryan, who is certainly no stranger to big predictions, says he thinks Reed has what it takes to become an NFL head coach – in a hurry.

"I would not be shocked if Ed Reed ends up being a head coach within five years," Ryan told ESPN at the NFL owners meetings. "That's how quick this dude's going to rise. Teaching guys how to study tape, how to get things, playing the game."

According to ESPN, only two of the 32 current NFL head coaches got their jobs only five years into getting their start: Jason Garrett, who joined the Dolphins as a quarterbacks coach in 2005 and was leading the Cowboys by 2010, and the Raiders' Jack Del Rio, who was named the Saints' linebackers coach in 1998 before becoming the Jaguars' head coach in 2003.

Ryan is so confident in Reed, he said, because of the leadership he showed in his final NFL season as a New York Jet in 2013.

"When we had him his last year with the Jets, he was the pied piper," Ryan said. "They all followed him and they all learned the game. And that's why I know this guy's going to be a great coach."

Courtney Upshaw Signing Probably Returns Comp Pick

In yesterday’s Late For Work, we wondered what Courtney Upshaw's signing with the Atlanta Falcons meant for the Ravens getting a compensatory pick in 2017.

Well, Upshaw's contract details are in, and it's good news.

So what's that mean for those of us not as blessed at math as John Urschel?

With $1.15 million in non-incentive money (signing bonus plus base salary), Upshaw makes it over the projected cut-off to factor into the compensatory pick equation.

"It should be enough for the Ravens] to [get back on the positive side of the compensation draft pick formula for next year," Zrebiec wrote.

Now the debate has become whether the Ravens will get a third-round or fourth-round compensatory pick in next year's draft because of the free-agent losses of Upshaw and Kelechi Osemele. That is, if Ozzie Newsome doesn't sign any more unrestricted free agents.

According to SBNation's Yitzi Weiss, "there is no reason it should not be a third."

"Last year the cutoff for a 3rd round pick was $9,211,010," he wrote. "The cutoff this year is projected to be $9 million. Not only should Osemele clear the cutoff easily, but the next highest free agent signee, CB Sean Smith should too at $9.5 million."

Russell Street Report's Brian McFarland, who weighs in on all things salary cap related, says Upshaw's contract puts him close to the qualifying measure, and "returns 3rd/4th for KO."

Zrebiec just isn't sure yet.

"The exact formula remains a bit of a mystery," he wrote. "It's impossible at this point to know for sure whether Upshaw's new deal will qualify the Ravens for a compensatory selection, but it certainly puts them on much better footing."

Looking Back On 2012 Draft Class

Now that Upshaw will be wearing another uniform in 2016, the eight-man 2012 draft class has officially departed Baltimore.

"It was a group that debuted during the Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII season but steadily thinned out because of off-the-field issues and inconsistent on-field performance," Zrebiec wrote.

Here's the class:

  • Round 2: OLB Courtney Upshaw
  • Round 2: OT Kelechi Osemele
  • Round 3: RB Bernard Pierce
  • Round 4: G/C Gino Gradkowski
  • Round 4: FS Christian Thompson
  • Round 5: CB Asa Jackson
  • Round 6: WR Tommy Streeter
  • Round 7: DE DeAngelo Tyson

Upshaw and Osemele were the only 2012 picks to see the end of their rookie contracts with the team.

"This couldn't have been what general manager Ozzie Newsome and company had in mind for this class, but I doubt they are losing too much sleep over it," Zrebiec wrote. "The reality is that the Ravens probably don't win the Super Bowl without the contributions of their rookies in 2012, and that group includes undrafted free agent kicker Justin Tucker."

Upshaw caused a key fumble in the first half of Super Bowl XLVII and was a regular starter and gritty defender. Osemele was a versatile starter throughout his tenure who rounded into one of the best offensive linemen in the league.

While Pierce had a rough ending in Baltimore, he was a big weapon down the stretch in 2012. Tyson even stepped in for Haloti Ngata when Ngata went down in the Super Bowl, and he was a nice rotational defensive lineman for the next two seasons.

"Sure, Thompson was a big miss, and Streeter was a project that never paid off. Gradkowski was overmatched in his one season as the team's starting center and Pierce never fulfilled his promise. Jackson was a frustrating case too because he showed flashes of being a dynamic returner, only to lose his spot because of egregious mistakes," Zrebiec wrote.

"But I'm sure the Ravens aren't taking it as a total loss. One glance at the shiny Lombardi Trophy in the lobby of the Under Armour Performance Center is plenty of proof that the 2012 draft class made important contributions."

By the way, the Ravens are now down to quarterback Joe Flacco and two other starters (guard Marshal Yanda and linebacker Terrell Suggs) from the Super Bowl XLVII team, as ESPN's Jamison Hensley pointed out.

Happy Birthday, Ravens!

Today is officially the 20th birthday of the Baltimore Ravens.

Yes, last year was the team's 20th season, but today is the anniversary of the team getting the nickname of the Ravens.

Hensley took a trip down memory lane and recalled the other options Owner Art Modell could have selected.

"Owner Art Modell's original choice for a nickname was the Bulldogs, in honor of the Canton, Ohio, team that helped start the NFL," Hensley wrote. "Then-president David Modell envisioned a team called the Americans, a nod to the Baltimore-Ohio train known as the American. And former Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas preferred to keep the equine theme with Mustangs."

However, the fans did the picking. In a telephone poll conducted by The Baltimore Sun, the Ravens – a nod to the city's history with poet Edgar Allen Poe – received 21,108 votes (63 percent), which beat out the Americans (5,597 votes) and Marauders (5,583 votes).

But not everyone was on board.

"I don't like it," Unitas said. "I don't think it has any association with football."

Modell apparently had one more trick up his sleeve. He said he would offer $5 million to get the Colts nickname back from Indianapolis, but Colts owner Jim Irsay instead quoted a price from $25 million to $50 million.

"Two decades later, the Ravens represent more than a nickname," Hensley wrote. "It has become synonymous with a winning franchise, a defiant defense and one of the most intense rivalries in the game."

Quick Hits

.@ColoradoStateU work work work!!! Getting right for season. Finishing my degree! #CSU — Crockett Gillmore (@CrockettG7) March 28, 2016

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