Smith's PS4 Gets Better Seat Than Manziel
That's the nickname AFC North rival quarterback Johnny Manziel has picked up for his signature football celebration of rubbing his fingers together to symbolize money. Nike even released "Money Manziel" T-shirts and, of course, LeBron James already has one.
Manziel may be one of the most popular athletes in the country right now, as every little move he makes sends the Internet into a buzz.
But he still flies coach and has to sit in the middle seat like everyone else.
Manziel flew Southwest, and obviously didn't check in early enough to get on boarding group "A" to avoid being scrunched between an older lady and another young man (mobile users tap "View in Browser" to see the picture below).
He caught some flak for it from PTI's Michael Wilbon, who said: "You can't be a baller if you're in the middle seat in coach. This should embarrass all of Cleveland."
Interestingly, wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. flew into Baltimore this week for the first day of Ravens OTAs and brought along his PS4 … in a much better seat than Manziel's.
As you can see in the tweet below, Smith's PS4 has its own roomy and luxurious seat on what appears to be a private jet. Oh, and it's buckled in snuggly. You can never be too safe!
Ravens 'Open Wallet' For Undrafted Rookies
The Ravens have a long history of discovering undrafted gems, but typically don't spend a whole lot of money to land them. They've just gotten the right ones.
This year, however, ESPN's Jamison Hensley says the Ravens are opening their wallets.
Ravens brass spent $73,500 in signing bonuses on 15 undrafted rookies, which is $10,000 more than the other three AFC North teams' spending combined, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
And as ESPN's Jamison Hensley points out, the money is guaranteed, but a spot on the roster is not. The highest-paid undrafted rookie last year, defensive end Will Pericak, didn't make it to the final preseason game.
While a bonus might be a plus, Head Coach John Harbaugh doesn't believe it's the top reason why players choose Baltimore over other NFL teams.
"What it really came down to for most of these guys is where was their best opportunity to make the team?" Harbaugh said. "Some of them, they worry about $1,000 here or there, but most of them are concerned with their opportunity."
Below is the list of the 2014 Ravens undrafted rookies' singing bonuses, per ESPN:
|Ravens 2014 Undrafted Free Agents|
|Derrick Hopkins||DT||Virginia Tech||$10,000|
|Parker Graham||OT-G||Oklahoma State||$9,000|
|James Hurst||OT||North Carolina||$9,000|
|Sammy Seamster||CB||Mid. Tenn. St.||$8,000|
|Deji Olatove||CB||N.C. A&T||$6,000|
|Brett Van Sloten||OT||Iowa||$6,000|
|Tramain Jacobs||CB||Texas A&M||$4,500|
|Jeremy Butler||WR||Tenn. Martin||$4,000|
|Jace Davis||WR||Northern Colorado||$4,000|
|Zach Orr||ILB||North Texas||$3,000|
|Xavius Boyd||ILB||Western Kentucky||$1,500|
|A.J. Pataiali'i||DT||Utah State||$1,000|
|Ryan Jones||ILB||Montana Tech||$1,000|
Hensley Predicts 3 QBs And Thinner WR Corps
The Ravens haven't kept three quarterbacks on the roster since 2009 (Joe Flacco, Troy Smith, John Beck), but Hensley believes that will happen in 2014 because the Ravens need to start grooming Keith Wenning to be the primary backup in 2015.
"[T]hey can't afford to put him on the practice squad," he wrote. "The Ravens lost Derek Anderson, a sixth-round pick like Wenning, to the Browns in 2005 when they tried to sneak him on the practice squad."
If you keep three quarterbacks, another position will lose out on depth. Hensley doesn't predict that will happen at running back (four) or the offensive line (nine).
One position that could get thin is wide receiver. Hensley sees only five making the 53-man roster: Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, Marlon Brown, Jacoby Jones and Michael Campanaro.
"The biggest question here is whether the Ravens will carry five or six receivers," Hensley wrote. "It will be a tough call if they go with five because Campanaro, Deonte Thompson, Aaron Mellette and LaQuan Williams will be battling for one spot. I went with Campanaro because of his added value as a returner behind Jacoby Jones."
Check out Hensley's full 53-man roster predictions here.
Three Second-Year Players Poised For Bigger Roles
Of the 2013 draft class, only first-round pick Matt Elam emerged as a starter, but the Carroll County Times' Matt Zenitz sees three more from the class emerging in their second years for bigger roles:
FB Kyle Juszczyk"Juszczyk played just a handful of snaps on offense last year, but Baltimore released starting fullback Vonta Leach earlier this offseason and plans to involve Juszczyk in its offense much more than it did last year," Zenitz wrote.
RT Rick Wagner
"He struggled during his most extensive action last season, allowing three sacks after replacing an injured Michael Oher during Baltimore's season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos, but the Ravens do believe he has what it takes to be a reliable starting right tackle in the NFL," Zenitz wrote.
DL Brandon Williams
"Williams will be part of a group competing for playing time at the defensive tackle spot vacated by Arthur Jones," Zenitz wrote. "He can also play nose tackle. Williams was slowed by a toe injury early last season and was then inactive for six of the final eight games, but Baltimore is depending on him to be more of a contributor this year with Jones gone."
- Ravens veteran Chris Canty is in search of clues to bounce back to old form. [The Baltimore Sun]
- Ravens have a "damn good" defensive line. [SB Nation]
- 10 players still on the mend as Ravens OTAs kick off. [The Baltimore Sun]
- @gdowning14: John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Steve Smith, Sr. and Lardarius Webb will all address the Baltimore media [Thursday]. [Twitter]
- @89SteveSmith: 1st day OTA'S feels good 2 be back on the field. Looking good in purple
#Ravens #stevesmith #agent89 #RAVENSNATION [Twitter]
- @TorreySmithWR: Felt good to be out there competing again....truly blessed [Twitter]
- @ElamVsElo: After that first day, I can't wait to wake up tomorrow & do it all over again..! [Twitter]
- @MB_uno4 [Marlon Brown] Good day 1st. Thank The Lord for the grind. [Twitter]
- @Wenning10: Good first day of OTA's! Have to build off today for tomorrow! [Twitter]
- @KLM_89 [Kapron Lewis-Moore]: Super hype getting back on the practice field today for OTAs! Knee felt great! [Twitter]
- @LWebb21: It's still not too late to get tickets to my charity softball game June 1 at 3:30 at M&T Bank Stadium [Twitter]
- @Wennining10: RT kt_ml: Had the most amazing weekend w/ the greatest fiancé a girl could ever ask for, I love you so much @Wenning10 [Twitter]