In March, amidst their offseason shopping spree, the Miami Dolphins grabbed middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe off the shelf and shelled out $35 million with $17 million guaranteed for him at the cash register. Three months later, the Ravens pulled veteran middle linebacker Daryl Smith, who was somehow still on the open market, out of the bargain bin and gave him a cheap one-year deal worth up to $2.125 million.
The Ravens wouldn¿t be walking into Sports Authority Field at Mile High as the defending Super Bowl champs on Thursday night had they not been dominant when it mattered in the most important 20 yards of the field.
A tight budget could make it extremely difficult to retain many unrestricted free agents, which includes offensive tackle Michael Oher, tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson, cornerback Corey Graham, middle linebacker Daryl Smith, defensive end Arthur Jones, strong safety James Ihedigbo and kick returner Jacoby Jones. And the Ravens may not be able to expand their payroll with high-dollar free agents from other teams
As the Ravens try to defend their Super Bowl title, they're betting heavily on the acumen of general manager Ozzie Newsome. Though some speculated faintly that Newsome might step away in the afterglow of a second championship, he has instead embraced the challenge of reconfiguring the roster one more time. It's a process that might inspire great anxiety in many NFL cities. But that's less the case in Baltimore where in Ozzie fans trust.
The Ravens' front office has earned plenty of praise for their decisions during the draft but it is also in the minutes after the final pick has been made, a period that assistant general manager Eric DeCosta equated to a "feeding frenzy," where the organization has historically done some of its best work.
The reason should be pretty obvious for anyone who watched the Ravens' 44-16 preseason-opening victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night. If Smith, who started at the middle linebacker spot that Ray Lewis had locked down for 17 years, wasn't the defense's most effective player, he certainly was its most active.
Hilton was one of three rookies to make the Colts' roster after being drafted in the 15th round as a 6-foot-6, 218-pounder out of Jackson State. The Colts had lost the Super Bowl to the Cleveland Browns 27-0 in the year prior.
As the Baltimore Ravens look to fill the void left by Ray Lewis' retirement and choose another starter to replace free-agent departure Dannell Ellerbe, we could see the Ravens do things a little differently when it comes to their inside linebackers this season.
Months before they would lift the Lombardi Trophy into the confetti-filled air, the Ravens' top decision makers started to have regular discussions about the future of the organization and the potentially wide-scale changes it would face following the 2012 season.
Ravens starting inside linebacker Jameel McClain remains optimistic that he'll ultimately gain full medical clearance after suffering a spinal cord contusion last December against the Washington Redskins.
Given that track record of success after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, Harbaugh is maintaining his low-key approach and staying the course. When asked if he's consulting with other coaches that have won championships as far as how they attempted to defend their titles, Harbaugh indicated he'll continue to consult with his usual advisors.
Conducted in association with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake, the session is being held at Reisterstown Regional Park at 401 Mitchell Drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to boys and girls ages 5 to 17. Lunch and water will be provided.
After last week's mandatory minicamp, Ravens players and coaches have gone their separate ways. After a productive 12 months, they should savor these next few weeks before getting back to business in late July.
With more diligent preparation this offseason having lost 10 pounds after taking up a boxing regimen, the 2011 first-round draft pick has impressed the coaching staff with how seriously he's taking his job after a lackluster first two seasons. Smith is building on the momentum he started in the postseason.
As you come to grips to life without Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach, consider the following statement: Before this offseason, no NFL team had lost more than five Super Bowl starters from its roster before the following season.
Two days after they were honored by President Barack Obama at the White House, the Super Bowl XLVII champion Ravens received their ultimate reward, collecting their championship rings at a private ceremony at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills on Friday.