Despite going through the opening salvo of free agency and accomplishing their No. 1 priority of re-signing nose tackle
They made Williams the highest-paid defensive tackle in the
And if this team is to improve significantly from a year ago when it finished 8-8,
Time will tell. It's way too early to predict doom or success for the Ravens because there are still the draft, another period of free agency and several months to make any trades.
Did the Ravens overpay Williams, who reportedly agreed to a five-year, $54 million contract?
Yes, they did. But that's the nature of the business when a player provides something that few others can, much like when the Ravens overpaid Flacco, the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player after the 2012 season. Williams is one of the best run stoppers in the league and at 28 is in the peak of his playing career.
If the Ravens had one consistent strength last season, it was being able to stop the run, and now they have the cornerstone in place again. They have a team leader in Williams on one side and an up-and-coming player, Michael Pierce, at the other tackle.
According to some observers of Arizona last season, Jefferson was the best defensive player on the
One thing really impressive about Jefferson is that he was an undrafted rookie free agent out of Oklahoma taken by the Cardinals in 2013 and has started 31 of 63 career games.
He is a good open-field tackler but more of a "box" safety who is good near the line of scrimmage. The Ravens already have one in
Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees has said the safety roles are interchangeable, but that didn't work last year when the top quarterbacks started going deep against the Ravens and throwing over the top of Weddle and Lardarius Webb, whom the Ravens released Friday.
The Ravens also agreed to a deal with running back
He'd better not be.
The ninth-year running back was eventually put on injured reserve after he tore an ACL in the second game of the season with the San Diego Chargers last year. In theory, he just seems to be a replacement for fullback
This isn't exactly what this offense needed, another check-down receiver.
The Ravens made a smart move by picking up the option year on receiver
The announcement by the league Thursday that running back
Dixon, a rookie last season, ran hard and was a part-time starter, sharing playing time with Terrance West. His development was slowed last season because of early-season injuries and now he'll have a similar problem again this year. But overall, the Ravens can live with that situation.
And they'll be all right without right offensive tackle Rick Wagner, who signed with the
To put it in perspective, the Ravens just remained status quo during the first big week of free agency.
Of course, that's not good enough, especially for a team that hasn't been to the playoffs three of the past four years. But there is still a lot of time left to tinker with the roster.
And the Ravens have a lot of tinkering to do.