Ozzie Newsome and Ravens Putting a Scare into Fans This Free Agency Period

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Ozzie Newsome and Ravens Putting a Scare into Fans This Free Agency Period
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens' general manager Ozzie Newsome.

Ravens fans probably feel like they have been through it all between the 2012 and 2013 NFL season, and now off-season.  

Fans can go all the way back to early May, when star linebacker Terrell Suggs announced that he had partially torn his Achilles tendon.  However, he shocked the Ravens when he returned just six games into the season to face the Houston Texans in week seven.  

Suggs' return was even more welcomed in week seven, after linebacker Ray Lewis suffered a torn triceps in week six against the Dallas Cowboys.  Lewis made his return for the wild card round of the playoffs, but not before announcing that this would be his, "last ride" with the Ravens.  

The Ravens practically limped their way into the playoffs, losing four of their last five games. Quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense was struggling which led to the late season firing of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron after a week 14 loss to the Washington Redskins.

When all hope seemed lost for Baltimore and an early exit appeared all but certain for the Ravens, fans were finally given a sign of hope, and what a sign it was.

The Ravens went on to defeat the Colts, Broncos, and Patriots respectively and reach the Super Bowl. It was in the New Orleans Super Dome where the Ravens would defeat the San Francisco 49ers on the way to their second Super Bowl in franchise history.

Joe Flacco posted one of the best post seasons by a quarterback in NFL history and received the lucrative contract he was after, becoming the highest paid player in the history of the league.

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Future hall of fame linebacker Ray Lewis retired after the Super Bowl.

 

 

With all the ups and downs the Ravens organization and fans endured this past season, it only seemed fitting that the season should end with Ray Lewis hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and riding off into the sunset as a champion.  

As the sun goes down on the 2012-2013 NFL season, the sun of the new 2013-2014 NFL season is just starting to rise, and Ravens' fans have become concerned of the days to come for their beloved franchise.

The Ravens' roster seems to have been decimated this off-season.  Free agency officially began on March 12th, and the Ravens already knew they would be looking to fill voids at middle linebacker following the retirement of Ray Lewis and at center with the retirement of Matt Birk.

The Ravens expected to lose free agent linebacker Paul Kruger, which they did to the division rival Cleveland Browns.  It was also expected that free agent cornerback Cary Williams would sign elsewhere, which led to him landing with the Philadelphia Eagles.

What has hurt the Ravens is the unexpected loss of other key role players.  Dannell Ellerbe, who was expected to resign with the Ravens went to the Miami Dolphins in a surprising move.  

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Furthermore, the Ravens traded star wide receiver Anquan Boldin to the 49ers and released strong safety Bernard Pollard.

 

The move that remains to be seen is what the Ravens will do with future hall of famer Ed Reed.  It's already known that the Ravens have let him go and test the market to see what his worth is elsewhere.  

 

Reed has already met with the Houston Texans and to the surprise of many left with no deal after one appeared imminent.  

The Ravens have signed defensive tackle Chris Canty to assist with a depleted pass rush, along with defensive end Marcus Spears for help on the defensive line.

Despite these few moves made by the Ravens, fans have not been happy with the way the organization appears to be heading.  You do not have to look very far to find negative comments about the teams apparent direction.

Despite the various losses and salary cap casualties, Ravens fans should remain calm and remember who runs the ship in Charm City.

Ozzie Newsome has been with the Ravens for 17 seasons now.  Yes, that is since the franchise first arrived in Baltimore.  With his first two picks as the general manager he selected 2013 pro-football hall of fame inductee Jonathan Ogden, and future hall of fame linebacker Ray Lewis.

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Linebacker Paul Kruger signed a deal with the Cleveland Browns March 12th.

Newsome has become widely known and respected for his ability to find late round gems in the draft and turn them into solid contributors just a few months or years later.  

 

Newsome has built such a reputation for himself as Baltimore's general manager that fans and local media alike have developed the phrase, "In Ozzie we trust," to symbolize their faith in him no matter what the decision.  

Thinking back on history, the Ravens have not been known to be aggressive players in the free agent market.  With immediate signings of free agents comes higher prices for a player's services.  

 

Newsome has become known for his phrase of, "Right player, right price" which alludes to the notion that the Ravens make it a priority to not overpay for a player to sign with the team, more so in respect to free agents from other teams than lifetime Ravens players.

Before panicking and concerning yourselves with the Ravens missing the playoffs, or the radical idea that they may finish at the cellar of the AFC North, there is good news for the people of Baltimore.

Newsome and the Ravens build their team primarily through the draft.  The Ravens currently have eight draft picks in the upcoming 2013 NFL draft.  

Assuming that half of those picks turn into solid contributors for the Ravens in the coming season or the next, Baltimore's loss of so many players this free agency period would seem less detrimental already.

Regardless of what happens with the Ravens this off-season, fans should remain calm and trust in Ozzie.  In his 17 years of service he has yet to let down the franchise and has already brought two championships to Baltimore.  

Just keep calm Baltimore and remember, "In Ozzie we trust."

Contact Zach on Twitter at @NFLWaterCooler.

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