Last year, the Baltimore Ravens were ravaged by personnel losses in free agency after winning Super Bowl XLVII. Those losses contributed to the team missing the playoffs in the 2013 season.
Well, in 2014 general manager Ozzie Newsome has made it clear he's not the type who's into making the same mistake twice.
The Ravens have made a number of moves in free agency on the offensive side of the ball this year. Those moves continued Thursday with the addition of tight end Owen Daniels, according to the team's Twitter account:
It was a signing that met with the approval of another of the new Ravens, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun:
The acquisition of Daniels continues a very aggressive offseason for Newsome and the Ravens.
|Baltimore Ravens Offensive Signings 2014|
|Player||Pos.||Old Team||New Team||Years/Terms|
After watching player after player leave last year, and even trading wide receiver Anquan Boldin rather than pay him $6 million in 2013, the Ravens have flipped the script this year.
Not only did the Ravens make a point of re-signing quarterback Joe Flacco's blindside protector in Eugene Monroe and one of his favorite targets in the passing game in tight end Dennis Pitta, but the team has added around them as well.
Newsome brought in Steve Smith in an effort to replace the production lost when Boldin packed his bags for the Bay Area a year ago.
As Jamison Hensley of ESPN points out, there's a pretty good chance that Smith will be able to do just that:
Statistically speaking, Smith and Boldin are the same player. Over the past five seasons, Smith has produced 4,849 yards receiving and Boldin has totaled 4,848 yards. Yes, exactly one yard separates them.
Their results since 2009 are very similar when you look at touchdown passes (Boldin 25, Smith 24), yards after the catch per reception (Smith 4.41, Boldin 4.25), red zone receptions (Boldin 29, Smith 22) and catches when the ball traveled at least 15 yards in the air (Smith 87, Boldin 75). This underscores how both receivers make plays when the ball is in their hands, step up inside the 20-yard line and stretch the field.
Daniels, on the other hand, is an eight-year veteran with three seasons of over 60 catches and 700 yards and two Pro Bowl nods on his NFL resume.
Mind you, neither signing is necessarily an automatic slam dunk. Both players are on the wrong side of 30. Daniels, like Pitta, missed over 10 games last year due to injury.
It's also not as if all the questions regarding the Baltimore offense have been answered. After all, running back Ray Rice is coming off by far the worst season of his six-year career, and the 27-year old faces an uncertain future thanks to assault charges stemming from an incident with his now-wife at a casino.
Still, the team still has Bernard Pierce waiting in the wings, and there's always the possibility of adding a running back in May's draft.
Last year, Newsome caught a ton of flak from the media. He caught it for handing Flacco a six-year, $120 million deal after the Super Bowl win. He caught more after the Boldin trade. And he most certainly caught a ton more after the Ravens finished last year 8-8 and out of the playoffs.
With that said, this year Newsome deserves credit for providing Flacco with both the protection in front of him and the receivers around him to rebound from last year's disappointing campaign.
This year, if the Ravens miss the playoffs, it won't be Newsome facing the harshest criticism.
No pressure Joe.
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