Ravens Get Snubbed in NFL's Top-100 List
The NFL Network will conclude its annual countdown tonight of the top 100 players in the league. All 100 players have already been announced, and tonight the network will reveal the order of the top 10.
The Ravens won't have any players recognized in tonight's show, which continues a theme of Baltimore getting snubbed from the top 100 list.
The only Raven to even make this year's list was guard Marshal Yanda, who came in at No. 43. And that's probably too low for Yanda, who could very well be the best offensive lineman in the game.
Several other Ravens have strong cases to be included in the top 100, which is voted on by the players, and Baltimore Beatdown's Logan Levy particularly took exception to two players who were absent: safeties Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson.
"In case you forgot, Weddle was listed as a second-alternate for the 2017 Pro Bowl," Levy wrote. "Yes, he eventually made it on the team and was named captain, but still, what does he have to do to get any sort of respect? Keep in mind [Pro Football Focus (PFF)] graded Weddle as the best safety in the NFL last season."
Even with Weddle making the Pro Bowl and getting high marks from PFF, the list had seven other safeties selected. The safeties to make it were Eric Berry, Landon Collins, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Harrison Smith, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Malcolm Jenkins.
Jefferson wasn't on the Ravens last season, but he shined for the Arizona Cardinals. He received his reward with a contract from Baltimore reportedly worth $34 million, but his recognition on the top-100 list hasn't materialized.
Getting left off the list definitely got Jefferson's attention, and he actually brought that up during his recent appearance on "The Lounge" podcast.
"I don't know too much about those votes that they're talking about," Jefferson said on The Lounge, starting around the 10:15 minute mark. "When I voted, I put my name on every slot. I don't know how everyone else did it."
Jefferson's votes for himself didn't get him on the list, but that's something he hopes to get accomplished during his first season with the Ravens.
The safeties weren't the only Ravens who have legitimate beef about getting snubbed. Linebacker C.J. Mosley, who made his second Pro Bowl last year, and defensive tackle Brandon Williams, who signed a reported $52 million contract this offseason, also come to mind.
Flacco Now NFL's 5th-Highest Paid Player
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed a mega-deal last week worth $125 million over five seasons. The deal made him the new highest-paid player in the league, a distinction that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has held on two separate occasions.
So where does Flacco's contract rank now? His reported annual average salary of $22.1 million is now down to fifth in the league, just 15 months after signing his record-breaking extension.
"This season, Carr, Andrew Luck, Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins all have contracts that average more than Flacco's," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "It should be only a matter of time that he's out of the top five, because Matthew Stafford is entering the final year of his contract."
Spotrac actually has Flacco's average salary at sixth in the league, with Arizona's Carson Palmer at No. 3 for his $24.3 million salary in 2017.
Flacco is going into the second year of a six-year extension he signed before last season. His contract puts him right in the middle of the going rate for top-end quarterbacks, which is the highest-paid position across the league.
Hensley points out that Flacco's big contract came after he had a Super Bowl title on his resume.
"Of the top five highest-paid quarterbacks, only Flacco and Brees have led their teams to a Lombardi Trophy," Hensley wrote.
Ravens Partner With InSideOut Initiative to Benefit Local Schools
Former Baltimore Colt Joe Ehrmann is well known in the Baltimore area for the work he's done after his playing career. He works with young people to focus on building character, and in 2014 he co-founded the InSideOut Initiative with Jody Redman.
"The initiative, which was backed by the NFL Foundation, focuses on developing character in student-athletes over a win-at-all-costs mentality," wrote Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun. "It started modestly and succeeded as a statewide initiative in a couple of NFL cities and it has grown significantly. Ehrmann, though, considers Baltimore the initiative's 'ground zero' in a plan to help urban schools."
As part of that effort to help Baltimore schools, the Ravens partnered with the InSideOut Initiative and hosted an event at the Under Armour Performance Center last week. During that event, Ehrmann and Redman shared a tutorial of the program for Baltimore City high school administrators, and they engaged in a dialogue about sports leadership.
"We've done a lot of work in providing facilities for high school athletes and equipment and uniforms, but we really thought that this program was an opportunity to bring value to the programs in a sense of teaching the student-athletes why sports is so important and why your participation in sports can build and develop character," Ravens President Dick Cass said.
In addition to the Ravens' involvement, Under Armour has also partnered with the organization to provide uniforms for every school that participates. The event was an early step in what the initiative hopes to accomplish, and there are big goals ahead for the next several years.
"[They] view high schools, and Baltimore in particular, as the perfect place to start and the Ravens have vowed to help them in any way they can along the way," Zrebiec wrote.