Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome spoke Friday morning to reporters for about 17 minutes at the NFL scouting combine.
Here are a few of his comments on a variety of topics:
Newsome didn’t get overly sentimental when asked about this being his last combine as the Ravens’ top decision maker. Owner Steve Bisciotti announced last month that Newsome will step aside following the 2018 season and his longtime lieutenant, Eric DeCosta, will take over.
“It’s a little bit like when I announced my retirement as a player,” Newsome said. “I had decided to retire one year and was asked to come back to play another year. It’s very similar to that. You get a chance to get your pats on the back from all the people, from your group, all of my peers, on this little journey I’m on.”
Newsome said his exact duties following the 2018 season haven’t been defined, but he’ll be doing “very similar to what [DeCosta] has done for me. I’ll just be a resource for him, a resource for Steve and a resource for [coach John Harbaugh].”
Though it is his last year in charge, Newsome acknowledged that he and other members of the organization are feeling the heat with the Ravens having fallen short of the postseason in three consecutive years and in four of the past five years.
“I don’t like not playing in January,” Newsome said. “We all share the burden.”
Newsome also said he has noticed the empty seats at M&T Bank Stadium during home games and he took accountability for that.
“When I get the product better on the field, I think the fans will show up,” he said.
Newsome acknowledged that the focus will be on fixing the team’s receiving group this offseason. He said that a final decision hasn’t been made on potential roster cuts, but his comments seemingly indicate that there’s a good chance that veteran Jeremy Maclin, who had a tough first season with the Ravens, and pending free agent Mike Wallace won’t be back. Newsome also called it a “make-or-break” year for former first-round pick Breshad Perriman, whose fifth-year option for 2019 isn’t expected to be picked up this offseason.
“We’re looking for the opportunity to change that [wide receiver] room in terms of personnel and the people in that room and we’re not going to leave no stones unturned,” said Newsome, indicating that he feels like there will be enough opportunities to upgrade through the draft and free agency.
Newsome didn’t comment specifically on any of the potential salary cap cuts. However, he praised how veteran cornerback Brandon Carr played in his first season as a Raven and he noted that the team needs six quality cornerbacks. That would seemingly indicate Carr will return.
As for other pending free agents or contract-related issues, Newsome said that he spoke to C.J. Mosley’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, briefly at the Alabama-Georgia national championship game about Mosley’s contract. He wouldn’t comment on any of the negotiations, but he said that the Ravens want to keep their good players. Mosley is signed through the 2018 season
He also said that the team has been negotiating to keep pending free agent defensive end Brent Urban.