Regret Boldin Decision? Ozzie Speaks Out
Ozzie Newsome doesn't regret his decision.
He understands he traded away one of quarterback Joe Flacco's security blankets.
"I took a safety net from Joe, and I'm well aware of that," he said.
He's seen the injuries: Dennis Pitta's done for the season, Ed Dickson has a torn hamstring, Deonte Thompson has a sprained foot.
But if he had to do it all over again, the Ravens' general manager would still trade receiver Anquan Boldin to San Francisco.
Boldin was the necessary cost of rebuilding the defense.
"The acquisitions of Elvis Dumervil and Michael Huff are a direct result of the money we saved from that contract," Newsome told Sports Illustrated's Peter King. "And other guys we got—Chris Canty, Marcus Spears, Daryl Smith—were helped by the savings. So if you ask the question, you can't just say, 'Do you wish you kept him?' You also have to look at the unintended consequences of your actions."
Here's how the cap numbers break down.
Boldin was scheduled to make $6 million in 2013. Instead, per spotrac.com, Dumervil will get $2.5 million this year, Huff will get $1.35, Canty will get $1.5, and Smith will get $1.1. That's a combined total of $6.47. Essentially four projected starters for one.
The way the Ravens also like to look at it is by how many years they've locked up each player. Boldin only had one more year left in Baltimore. The Ravens now have Dumervil on the books for five years, Huff for three, Canty for three and Smith for one.
Sure, Newsome could have found ways to maneuver the cap to keep Boldin and rebuild the defense. But that would come at a major price tag. Newsome's been in cap jail before – following Super Bowl XXXV – and he'll never return again. He won't mortgage the future of the franchise for one shot at repeating.
So there it is. That's Newsome's stance.
That doesn't mean everyone agrees.
King and ESPN's Jamison Hensley say they would have done it differently. King said he would have tried to get the best of both worlds by keeping Boldin and mortgaging part of the future to build on defense.
The "biggest problem" Hensley has is that he thinks Newsome could have freed up money elsewhere. The AFC North blogger says cutting fullback Vonta Leach in March would have freed up $3 million, enough to nab Dumervil. That still wouldn't have provided enough room to pick up Spears, Canty and Smith.
But Hensley says Newsome could have approached Terrell Suggs ($13 million cap hit in 2013), Haloti Ngata ($11.5) or Jacoby Jones ($4.9) to restructure their contracts. But that would have either mortgaged the future – something Newsome is dead set against – or they could have said no like Boldin did. Then what?
Finally, Hensley proposed releasing Jameel McClain, designating him for a failed physical (bruised spinal cord) to free up $3 million. The Ravens were still optimistic he would play though. Why drop one defensive piece for another when you are rebuilding the unit?
Each proposal has its advantages and drawbacks. Newsome picked the one he felt was best. And while they disagree with him, both King and Hensley recognize Newsome's successful track record.
"It's no lock he made the right call," King wrote. "But he made the call he's comfortable with, and he knows the team, and its fans, will be happy he did in 2014. For now? Time will tell. … [A] GM of a championship team gets paid to make these calls, and Newsome leads me in that department 2-0."
Added Hensley: "Newsome … has built a stellar reputation for making the right calls on these types of tough decisions."
Pitta May Not Be Done For Season
Pitta is done for the season, right?
Well, maybe not.
King thinks he's not "assuredly" done this year after dislocating his hip the first week of training camp. The Ravens have yet to move four-year veteran from the active roster.
Turns out, Head Coach John Harbaugh isn't completely sure he'll miss the entire season either.
Asked for a percentage that Pitta could return, Harbaugh told King:
"Don't know the percentage, but it is not zero."
Suggs On If 49ers Score If They Don't Call Infamous Timeout
Remember when 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he felt like the Super Bowl was stolen?
The play Kaepernick said he'd like to have back was on the final drive when the ball was snapped and he took two steps to the left. He said it looked like it was going to be "a walk into the end* *zone." But the play was called dead because Head Coach Jim Harbaugh called a timeout with the play clock winding down. A touchdown would have given San Francisco the lead.
King asked outside linebacker Terrell Suggs if he thinks Kaepernick would have scored.
"I still haven't seen the whole game," Suggs said. "I still haven't watched it. But I know what play you're talking about. They were in shotgun, and they were gonna run that sweep around our right side, to their left, and they called timeout. I don't know what would have happened had they ran it.
"But I will say this [wide grin] … [pause] … It was a hell of a play call at that time. It was a good time to try to run it."
Suggs On If Riley Cooper Were Pitta
Suggs was asked how he would handle the situation with Riley Cooper, who was filmed using a racial slur at a Kenny Chesney concert, if the Eagles wide receiver was his teammate.
If Cooper were somebody like Pitta, Suggs said he'd forgive him.
Suggs explains, per King:
"I think it would all depend on our personal relationships with Riley. Let's say Dennis Pitta [who is white] had said that here. Everybody knows I'm the biggest Dennis Pitta fan in the world. But had he said something like that, something so hateful and disgusting, I would probably resent him at first. But time heals all wounds, and I would eventually forgive him. 'Cause he's my guy. I don't have a personal relationship with Riley Cooper, so I don't know what's going on in their locker room. Whereas I've been with Dennis outside of this building. I know he's the greatest guy in the world. We're a pretty understanding and forgiving locker room."
Tyrod Playing Holder Offers Interesting Possibilities
"Imagine the possibilities," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Matt Vensel.
Turns out, backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor worked as kicker Justin Tucker's holder on field goals Monday.
"If they can run successful fake field goal plays with the regular holder, punter Sam Koch, imagine what they could do with Taylor," Vensel wrote.
Upshaw Has A Baby
Congratulations to Courtney Upshaw!
The Ravens outside linebacker announced baby CJ was born yesterday at 4:23 a.m.
"I just [received another blessing](mailto:@334Upshaw41: I just received another blessing!! Thank you God for all that you have done.)!!" Upshaw tweeted. "Thank you God for all that you have done."
Upshaw was excused from practice yesterday.
- Hey Jim Caldwell, could Ray Rice play slot receiver? "Ray could play the slot and Ray could move around a little bit — which we've had him do from time to time — out of the backfield," the offensive coordinator said. "It could be a possibility." [The Baltimore Sun]
- Hey Ray, do you think you could be an effective receiver? "I definitely love my chances if they put a linebacker on me — no disrespect to the linebackers out there," Rice told Vensel. [The Baltimore Sun]
- Free agent Dallas Clark didn't make it out to practice yesterday. He was still going through the process of getting his physical and signing his contract. [@Ravens]
- @mzenitz: Dean Pees on Terrence Cody: "I've seen good things from him, and I feel very encouraged by him." … Pees said Cody played injured last season - something the Ravens didn't know until after the season. [Twitter]
- @CliftonBrownCSN: Torrey Smith having superb camp. Catching everything, no WR outworks him. No matter what 2013 stats are, he's a better player. #RavensTalk [Twitter]
- @GerrySandusky: With Brandon Stokley's return, the Ravens once again have an active player on the roster who has a ring from the Super Bowl 35 team. [Twitter]