Reporter Aaron Wilson recaps the maneuvering the Ravens have done thus far in the offseason. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
The Ravens were able to sign veteran tight end Owen Daniels last offseason largely because of his relationship with their then-offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak.
It's that same dynamic that got in the way of the Ravens bringing Daniels back for a second season. The tight end has agreed to terms on a three-year deal with the Denver Broncos, for whom Kubiak is now the head coach, the team announced.
Daniels has played under Kubiak and current Broncos tight ends coach Brian Pariani for all nine of his NFL seasons, so it was widely speculated that he'd wind up in Denver once he hit free agency. The Broncos are also looking to add tight ends because their starting tight end – Julius Thomas - was an unrestricted free agent and ultimately signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
avens head coach John Harbaugh said last month Daniels had expressed a desire to return and the interest was mutual. However, the team knew that it was going to be tough for the Ravens to compete for Daniels, given their tight salary cap situation and the tight end's relationship with Kubiak.
The Ravens will have to address the tight end position sometime this offseason. It's uncertain if Dennis Pitta will be able to play again after he suffered a fractured and dislocated right hip for the second time in as many years. A third-round NFL pick last year, Crockett Gillmore improved steadily throughout his rookie season but it would be a bit of a leap to think that he's ready to become the starter.
Daniels, 32, signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Ravens last April after spending eight productive seasons with the Houston Texans, and he immediately became one of Joe Flacco's favorite targets. He was the team's third-leading receiver.
Daniels caught 48 passes for 527 yards and four touchdowns while playing 15 of the Ravens' 16 regular-season games. He also was a big factor in the playoffs, catching eight passes for 111 yards and a touchdown. In doing so, he proved that he was healthy again after an injury-marred 2013 season with the Texans.