Maclin's Deal Shows How Much Ravens Valued Him
The Ravens applied the full-court press in recruiting wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.
Players, coaches and front office personnel all got involved. The pitch included a trip to the Ravens' facility, a nice dinner, a basketball watch party, plenty of text messages and some call outs on social media.
Baltimore's checkbook also did some talking.
Maclin's two-year deal is worth $11 million, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, and the investment is an indication that the Ravens pulled out all the stops to get him.
"His total earnings and first-year payout both rank No. 7 among free-agent wide receivers this year – and Maclin received this deal three months after free agency began," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "This deal shows how much the Ravens wanted him in Baltimore and didn't want him to end up in Buffalo or Philadelphia."
The Ravens were pressed tight against the salary cap when Maclin was released by the Kansas City Chiefs on June 2, but General Manager Ozzie Newsome cleared some significant cap room over the last two weeks.
"The Ravens, who ranked among the teams with the least amount of salary-cap space, created a little over $6 million this month by releasing tight end Dennis Pitta ($2.5 million) and cornerback Kyle Arrington ($2.1 million) and reducing the salary of tight end Benjamin Watson ($1.75 million)," Hensley wrote.
"Maclin immediately becomes the most complete wide receiver on the Ravens. He can generate big plays by using his elusiveness on short screens and his speed on deep routes. His 2,942 yards receiving over the past three seasons rank No. 16 in the NFL despite him missing five games during that stretch."
Maclin arrived in Baltimore Monday afternoon and said "I'm looking forward to many great things this season."
Torrey Smith Thinks Maclin Will Fit Well in Baltimore
There aren't many people who know what it takes to be a successful Ravens receiver more than Torrey Smith. The Ravens' 2011 second-round pick caught more touchdowns during his four-year stint in Baltimore than any player in franchise history, and he came close to re-signing with his old team this offseason.
Smith signed with the Eagles instead, and the Ravens ultimately added Maclin this week.
"I think he's going to do great [in Baltimore]," Smith told ESPN.com. "Obviously, he's a great ballplayer. But it's a city that kind of compares to this a little bit in terms of how they love a football team, he's with a good quarterback in Joe [Flacco]. He's going to do well."
Maclin and Smith are in somewhat parallel situations. Smith started his career in Baltimore and Maclin started in Philadelphia. They both signed lucrative contracts with new teams two years ago, and then were released this offseason.
A big difference, however, is that the 49ers cut Smith in March and the Chiefs waited until June to cut Maclin.
"I think it's kind of messed up he got released late," Smith said. "Shout out to San Fran for letting me know early because I would have been pissed the hell off if they would have cut me late in the offseason. But it's the nature of the business. Nothing is ever set in stone and that's just how it happens.
"It's messed up. If he would have been in free agency, he probably would have done better than that. He's a great talent. I think at this point he kind of probably feels how I feel, just wanting to be in a good situation to be able to play well."
Maclin and Smith almost ended up teammates this year because Maclin's decision reportedly came down to the Eagles and Ravens. Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson confirmed his team's interest in Maclin, but said "we want to wish him the best of luck now in Baltimore."
Yanda, Weddle Both Named Top-25 Players in the NFL
This is the time of year for top 100 player rankings.
NFL Network's annual rundown of player rankings garners most of the attention (and criticism), but here's a list where CBS Sports' Pete Prisco recognizes a pair of Ravens.
Prisco's top 100 list puts right guard Marshal Yanda at No. 19 and safety Eric Weddle at No. 23.
Prisco wrote that Yanda "remains one of the league's best guards, arguably the best." Yanda is heading into his 11th NFL season and he has shown no signs of dropping off.
Weddle also continues to defy time, as the veteran safety made the Pro Bowl in his first season in Baltimore.
"In his first year with the Ravens, he continued to be a playmaker on the back end," Prisco wrote. "He has range and will tackle. That's a must in today's game."