Regret Kelechi Osemele Decision? Or Better Off With Eric Weddle And Mike Wallace?
After Kelechi Osemele's very honest conference call with Baltimore media Wednesday, the phrase that that came to mind (in a Richard Sherman voice) was, "You mad, bro?"
The former Ravens offensive lineman will return to M&T Bank Stadium for the first time Sunday with his new Oakland Raiders team, and there's really only one priority from him while he's in town.
"His agenda for the rest of his trip seems to revolve around making the Ravens regret not being more aggressive in trying to re-sign him this past offseason," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
Osemele said this won't be just any other game for him. He admitted it will be emotional after his feelings were hurt when the Ravens didn't offer him more money in free agency last March. He also said he didn't see eye-to-eye with one of the coaches and he looks forward to pancaking one or two of his former teammates. If you haven't read it yet, Ryan Mink has the full story here.
Here's the question: By the end of his revenge tour Sunday, will Osemele accomplish his goal and make the Ravens regret not offering him more to stay?
Listen, there's no doubt the Ravens'offensive line could use the nasty mauler right about now. The rushing attack is ranked No. 26 in the league right now, while the Raiders sit at No. 2 after finishing 29th last season. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley was seen by Zrebiec in a walking boot (see below), and left guard Alex Lewis, who is now playing Osemele's position, is going through the NFL concussion protocol.
"Their statuses – and the struggles of the Ravens' run game – will surely spur some second-guessing that the Ravens would have been better off paying Osemele this offseason," wrote Zrebiec.
But there's much more to the story.
It's somewhat surprising to hear that Osemele's feelings were hurt by what he perceived to be a low-ball offer because Head Coach John Harbaugh revealed back in March that the Ravens offered him $8.5 million a year. That would have made him the highest-paid guard in the league at the time. The Raiders, who had much more salary-cap space, came in with a massive $11.7 million annual figure that the Ravens couldn't match, especially after already extending their other starting guard, Marshal Yanda, the previous year.
"With a relatively tight salary-cap situation and needs elsewhere, they weren't in position to get in a bidding war," wrote Zrebiec. "Osemele was essentially able to name his price on a free-agent market saturated with teams that had money to spend. … In [John] Urschel and Ryan Jensen, [the Ravens] had two young offensive linemen with starting experience."
So the Raiders made Osemele the fourth-highest paid offensive lineman in the league and the richest guard in NFL history. Meanwhile, the Ravens moved on and spent their money elsewhere.
The salary-cap space saved from not signing Osemele allowed the Ravens to be active in free agency, and they made several more modest investments that are paying huge dividends so far this season. Baltimore signed highly-sought after safety Eric Weddle, speedy receiver Mike Wallace and veteran tight end Benjamin Watson.
If the Ravens are going to regret not signing Osemele, that means they'd also have to take back those three moves.
While Watson suffered an unfortunate season-ending Achilles tear during the preseason, Weddle and Wallace have been difference-makers.
The Ravens are currently ranked as the NFL's No. 2 defense. There are many contributing factors in flipping last year's 25th-ranked unit around, but if you ask players in the locker room, one of the first factors they'll point to is the addition of "Coach Weddle."
Wallace has developed instant chemistry with quarterback Joe Flacco, and is the only person to score a touchdown outside of Flacco himself. The speedster has three of the Ravens' four touchdowns this season, and without that scoring, Baltimore may not be undefeated.
So the Ravens certainly will (and do) miss Osemele. But regret? There are just too many other factors that indicate they made the right call.
Joe Flacco Releases Photo Of New Daughter, And She's An Angel
Oh my heavens. I just can't take all the adorableness in this photo.
Joe and Dana Flacco welcomed their fourth child in five years with Evelyn Renee (7 pounds, 6 ounces) arriving Tuesday. Flacco said he always wanted a girl, and he was getting nervous that he might not ever get one.
"It was definitely different. Seeing a girl come out after three boys was a bit of a shock," Flacco told Mink yesterday. "Everybody is beyond overjoyed, beyond pumped."
How could you not be? Look at this gorgeous baby girl! Congrats Flaccos!
Terrell Suggs Tips Hand About Elvis Dumervil's Return; Don't Expect Kenneth Dixon Until Week 5
It may have been a dreary and rainy day in Baltimore Wednesday, but it was a beautiful sight with outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil fully participating in practice and rookie running back Kenneth Dixon returning, albeit on a limited basis.
As WNST's Luke Jones pointed out, Terrell Suggs seemed to tip the Ravens' hand by telling reporters in the locker room that he's excited to get "Doom" back this week. That wasn't a big surprise, however, as Harbaugh already said Dumervil was "really close" to playing last week.
"The Ravens enter Week 4 ranked second in the NFL in total defense and fourth in scoring defense, but the pass rush would receive quite a boost from the presence of Dumervil, who collected 32 1/2 sacks over the last three seasons," wrote Jones.
Dixon might follow a similar path as Dumervil by practicing for two weeks before returning to game action. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, that is the plan.
As a rookie, it's unclear what Dixon can bring to the table, but he flashed in training camp and the preseason, which makes the Ravens hopeful that he can provide a spark to a unit that is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry.
"I can't wait to get out there and show what I can do in this offense," Dixon told The Sun's Edward Lee. "I feel like I can do a lot of things well in this offense, getting the ball, running downhill, catching the ball out of the backfield, making a guy miss and trying to take it the distance. I'm just ready to get back out there and see what I can do."
Lots Of Concern With Left Side Of Line
It will be very interesting to see what the offensive line will look like Sunday, especially on the left side.
While it's certainly not a good sign that Stanley is in a walking boot after playing through a foot injury the last two games, it doesn't rule him out completely. Stanley has a lottt of pride, and as he said, "it's going to take a lot for me to miss a game."
If the two rookies wind up being inactive for Sunday's matchup, there are several different combinations the Ravens could try. James Hurst and Ryan Jensen are the obvious and most-likely candidates to fill in at left tackle and guard, respectively. Urschel could also play guard. Orrrr, the Ravens could get super creative.
Fans Already Planning Trips To Ray Lewis' Expected Hall Of Fame Induction
Sure, legendary Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis still needs to be voted into Hall of Fame.
But, it's gonna happen, right? It's just a formality at this point.
Well, the folks at Superior Tours and some of their customers are already banking on it. The Baltimore tour bus company has started taking reservations for the July 2018 ceremony in Canton, Ohio, according to the Baltimore Business Journal.
"I learned with the Cal Ripken induction, we did that nine years ago, we started a couple of years in advance and we ended up with 12 buses and 600 people," said Marc Komins, executive vice president of Superior Tours. "That is our goal with this one."
Komins opened a reservation bank for the Lewis trip in January. If you'd like to book a trip, the estimated cost is $1,950 for a four-day, all-inclusive bus and hotel package.