Over the past couple of days, defensive tackle Arthur Jones has gone to his Twitter page to talk excitedly about his first foray into free agency.
But, as expected, his stay on the open market didn't last long and his days as a Raven are over. Jones, a fifth-round pick in 2010 who developed into one of the Ravens' top defensive linemen, agreed to a five-year, $33 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts, which had become an obvious pairing in recent days. The deal came down just minutes after the start of free agency at 4 p.m.
The contract includes $16 million guaranteed and a $5.5 million signing bonus, according to a source. He's due base salaries of $4.5 million in 2014, $6 million in 2015, $4.5 million in 2016, $6.25 million in 2017 and $6.25 million in 2018. The first year base salary is fully guaranteed.
The deal allows Jones to reunite with former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. Now the Colts' head coach, Pagano is looking to strengthen his defense to take the next step into being one of the AFC's elite teams.
"Colts nation, here I come," Jones wrote on his Twitter page right around 5 p.m.
Even though the Ravens were prepared for Jones' departure, it still is a significant loss.
Jones, 27, started 13 of 14 games this past season, registering 53 tackles and four sacks and emerging as a pass-rushing threat along with a force against the run. In four seasons with the Ravens, the affable and hard-working defensive lineman had 118 tackles and 8 ½ sacks and started 20 games.
With his breakout 2013 season, Jones essentially priced himself out of the Ravens' market. The Ravens already have a lot of money locked up in nose tackle Haloti Ngata and they have a host of other needs, which prevented them from being able to match the deal Jones eventually got with the Colts.
The Ravens are optimistic that young defensive linemen DeAngelo Tyson and Brandon Williams could step into more prominent roles. They are also likely to add some depth at the position either in the draft or free agency.