A lot of people pointed out the irony that Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor made a Pro Bowl team before the guy he backed up for four years, the Ravens' Joe Flacco. It certainly is an interesting observation, although it's not an entirely accurate one. Remember, Flacco was asked to participate in the Pro Bowl last year after arguably his finest season as a pro. He turned down the invitation because his wife, Dana, was due to give birth to the couple's third child.
So many players have dropped out of the Pro Bowl because of injuries and personal reasons – and the nine Carolina Panthers selected are obviously preparing for bigger and better things – that the league is on their seventh or eighth alternates at certain positions. However, that shouldn't diminish Taylor's accomplishment. The guy was a great teammate for the Ravens and busted his butt every day so that he was prepared if he ever got an opportunity to start. The Bills gave him it this past season and Taylor threw 20 touchdown passes, ran for four more and turned the ball over just seven times. Those may not be Pro Bowl numbers, but Taylor surpassed all expectations in his first year as a starter. Kudos to him.
A number of people questioned whether Taylor's selection to the Pro Bowl would help the Ravens garner a compensatory selection in April's draft after losing him. The answer is no because Taylor made the team as an alternate, as first established by Brian McFarland who writes about the business of Ravens' football for Russell Street Report. The Ravens are expected to get three compensatory selections in the 2016 draft when they are announced at the NFL owners meetings in March.
Daniels spots a potential fake
CBS cameras caught Denver Broncos tight end and former Raven Owen Daniels lingering on the sidelines with a skeptical look on his face as the rest of his teammates and the New England Patriots headed to the locker room in Sunday's AFC championship game. USA Today's Lindsay Jones sought an explanation for Daniels' actions Monday and the tight end said that it traced back to his time last year with the Ravens. According to Jones, Daniels said that before the Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers playoff game last year, the Ravens discussed a play if they had the ball in their own territory in the waning seconds of the second quarter. The play called for Flacco to fake a kneel down and look to throw the ball downfield. The situation never arose, but Daniels apparently wondered if Tom Brady and the Patriots were planning the same thing. That's why he was so animated on the sideline while many of his Broncos teammates had turned their backs to the field.
Former Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata told the Detroit Free Press earlier this week that he would love to re-sign with the Detroit Lions. Ngata, who is eligible for free agency this offseason, also acknowledged that he's definitely planning on playing in 2016, but he's noncommittal to anything beyond that. The 32-year-old was slowed by a hamstring injury this past season and had a career-low 24 tackles for the Lions. I can't see Ngata getting a huge contract this offseason, but he still should have plenty of suitors. As for a reunion with the Ravens, I wouldn't anticipate it unless Ngata comes cheap. The Ravens have plenty of defensive line depth and not a lot of salary cap space.
Several former Ravens have signed reserve/future deals with other teams in recent weeks. Defensive end DeAngelo Tyson, who didn't play at all in 2015 after the Ravens let him go, joined the Seattle Seahawks. Cornerback Rashaan Melvin is staying with the Patriots. Wide receiver Jace Davis will be on the Broncos' offseason roster.
Congratulations to former Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin for being named a finalist for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, along with New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Boldin, who is due to hit free agency after playing the past three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, was a finalist last year, so you have to like his chances this year.