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Ravens’ gamble blows up on them


Within hours after the new labor deal was struck, the Baltimore Ravens issued a statement from G.M. Ozzie Newsome.

“With this agreement comes a new salary cap, unlike last season when there was no cap,” Newsome said at the time.  “We will be making a number of roster moves in the next 48 hours that will free up salary cap space.  This will give us the ability to make offers to our players we want to re-sign, plus put us in a position to sign free agents from other teams.”

Though no moves could officially be made for another 72 hours, words quickly began to surface that the Ravens would dump a quartet of proven veterans:  running back Willis McGahee, receiver Derrick Mason, tight end Todd Heap, and defensive tackle Kelly Gregg.

The initial thinking was that the Ravens wanted to give the players a chance to get to the market quickly, so that they could realize that the Ravens ultimately would be offering a reduced salary that was at least as competitive as the offers the players could finagle elsewhere.

If that was the plan, it didn’t work.

With Mason picking the Jets over the Ravens and Titans (even though quarterback Joe Flacco and receiver Anquan Boldin wanted Mason to return), all four players have found new teams.  Gregg signed with the Chiefs, McGahee signed with the Broncos, and Heap signed with the Cardinals.

So now the theory possibly will be that, like the Patriots, the Ravens decided to move on one year too early instead of one year too late.  The only question is whether it’ll be too late for the Ravens to adequately replace the contributions of the four key former veteran who will be making contributions elsewhere.

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57 Responses to “Ravens’ gamble blows up on them”
  1. chowface86 says: Aug 6, 2011 5:06 PM

    OK this is easy… Pick up OJ Santiago for TE, Torry Holt at WR, and Antonio Pittman at RB.


  2. Marv says: Aug 6, 2011 5:09 PM

    I don’t this Patriots sidenote… is it about Seymore?

  3. otistaylor89 says: Aug 6, 2011 5:11 PM

    All four were very good players, however can you really count on all four players staying injury free at this point in their careers?

    I say they made the right move.

  4. mikebyrne1502 says: Aug 6, 2011 5:14 PM

    They laid their eggs in the Malcom Floyd basket and it didn’t happen, makes me wonder if people want to play for Harbough a lot of people liked REX considering most of the Jets roster is Raven Vets.

  5. thebigtexas says: Aug 6, 2011 5:16 PM

    I’m trying to figure out how this is a ‘gamble’…

    They drafted WRs this year, they drafted a replacement for Kelly Gregg last year, they drafted Heap’s replacement(s) last year, and they didn’t want to keep McGahee.

    They run one of the best organizations in football – I’m sure they’ll be alright. Hell, this is a team that got rid of Matt Stover and ended up with Billy Cundiff making the Pro Bowl.

    I think PFT’s staff is listening a little too much to KSK’s staff. Yikes.

  6. bluvayner says: Aug 6, 2011 5:17 PM

    Getting rid of a player a year early rather than a year late is a good strategy……….but only if you’re actually getting something in return. The Patriots often do. The Ravens didn’t.

  7. 6ringsofsteel says: Aug 6, 2011 5:19 PM

    The Steelers is the most decorated franshise in NFL history. Period. Every player wants to play for us. They win SBs and big games and you can’t ask for more. What other team can say there trophy case holds 6 Lombardis. Only one can say that. The NFL lives in the Steelers shadow as long as the Black and Gold is on the field. We are great. Some would argue that we are too great. It isn’t fair. I feel sorry for you all. 6

  8. marshmont says: Aug 6, 2011 5:24 PM

    i’m glad mason is gone. he is done. the big problem for the ravens is haloti ngata. he has a franchise tag (12m) and they haven’t completed a long term deal with him. if they can’t resign him, he’s gone. thanks to dan snyder and vinnie serato(hansworth contract).

  9. rajbais says: Aug 6, 2011 5:25 PM

    Just sign T.O.!!!!

  10. 7370355q says: Aug 6, 2011 5:26 PM

    I just think they want to genuinely get younger at the skill positions. The lack of speed last year at the receiver position was evident, clearly against pittsburgh in the AFC Divisional game.

  11. 7370355q says: Aug 6, 2011 5:27 PM


    If every player wants to play for the steelers, then why did Plaxico choose the jets over pittsburgh?

  12. davem23 says: Aug 6, 2011 5:27 PM

    Another great move by Ozzie, right behind drafting a blind tackle, narcoleptic LB……Super Bowl!

  13. antshaw says: Aug 6, 2011 5:46 PM

    I’m a BIG time Ravens fan and I’m glad Mase isn’t back. He is a 1 trick pony that can only run an out. At this point, we are better off lining up Doss and Smith and say GO then bring him, Housh, or Cotchery in here.

  14. brucehumbert says: Aug 6, 2011 6:02 PM

    So Ozzie is not the God of front office folks?

    As a Steeler fan not seeing Todd Heap in that funky Purple uni will be a relief…

  15. golonger says: Aug 6, 2011 6:04 PM

    6ringsofsteel – wrong….every player does NOT want to play for the Steelers because they dont PAY!!!!

  16. tedmurph says: Aug 6, 2011 6:15 PM

    Gentlemen, don’t let this 6ringsofsteel guy bother you. He’s just a child that writes the same comment after every post, while forgetting the steelers have only won twice this century and can’t beat the Pats.

  17. tk1966 says: Aug 6, 2011 6:15 PM

    6ringsofsteel says: Aug 6, 2011 5:19 PM

    The Steelers is the most decorated franshise in NFL history. Period. Every player wants to play for us…


    As a Steeler fan, I say this to you in all sincerity…


    Its fans like you who make the average Steeler fan look bad. Do the rest of us a favor and comment on the topic, not on some non-related tangent!

    And as for me staying on topic, I have to agree with Brucehumbert – I will be glad to not have to see the Steelers try to contain Heap twice (or three times) a year. He always seemed to be a Steeler-killer. I think that it the Ravens’ coaching staff used him against the Steelers more, there would be a number of games that would have had different outcomes.

  18. golonger says: Aug 6, 2011 6:16 PM

    How is this “blowing up” on then…..first of all, not like these players have “worked out” over the past few years….Heap is a piece of China that can’t stay healthy anymore..neither can Greg….Mason’s contributions are limited at this point…McGahee is a waste…so was McClain…

    I find it amazing that these other teams STILL haven’t figured out that former Ravens players just do not produce after they leave…….none……even A Thomas who I thought was a shoe-in was a flop…….do I need to list ALL the flops???

    It is the Ravens system that makes many of these guys great….not the opposite!

  19. golonger says: Aug 6, 2011 6:18 PM

    brucehumbert – really?……why would you fear someone that never plays???

  20. nep1283 says: Aug 6, 2011 6:27 PM

    “move on a year early than later like the patriots”. difference is pats got belichick he knows wat hes doin

  21. tedmurph says: Aug 6, 2011 6:33 PM


    Bart Scott and JLeonard(before he got hurt) are playing well for the Jets, but your point is well taken. Balti, Pats, Colts, Steelers are all perennial contenders because they pay they right guys, let someone else overpay the ones on the way down and draft well. None of those teams have too many players that went on to star for someone else.

  22. brucehumbert says: Aug 6, 2011 6:39 PM


    I know Heap is not on the field as much as other tight ends – and he messed up a couple of my fantasy teams by being hurt….

    But he always seemed to come up with a big catch when he played against my Steelers…

    So I am glad he is gone – and since LW assured me that Flacco will never beat my Steelers all is well…

  23. prplpuzzetrz says: Aug 6, 2011 6:43 PM

    @ 6ringsforsteel

    You copied and pasted the same rant as u did under other headlines. It does NOT even apply in this situation. You are a homer, Infeel sorry for you. You make steelers fans look foolish. Do yourself a favor and lock yourself in “said” trophy case

  24. rgwhodey says: Aug 6, 2011 6:46 PM

    6rings hit the bar a little early today jus sayin’ love to live in the past

  25. 3octaveFart says: Aug 6, 2011 6:46 PM

    I’m still scratching my head over them letting Heap, and now Mason walk…
    As a Steelers fan I always cringed every time I saw Heap lining up. He’s burned us more than a few times.

  26. timtheenchanter1 says: Aug 6, 2011 6:50 PM

    The thing that blew up was that Floyd didn’t sign. I don’t think they had any intention of signing any of those guys except mason and only as a last resort/fallback if they missed on Floyd. Losing out on both is where it fell apart.

    McGahee would have been gone a year ago if there hadn’t been an uncapped year. Gregg hasn’t been the same since microfracture surgery a couple years ago. Heap is oft-injured and Mason is 37 and I get the impression they purposely wanted a break from the old guard because they want Flacco to step up and be the leader. With those vets around it would be difficult because people would always look to the established guys who had been there longer.

    That said, they sorely need a reliable #2 WR and there just isn’t one out there who isn’t dealing with an injury or other question marks.

  27. dfwjournalist says: Aug 6, 2011 7:02 PM

    Newsome could have just been covering himself, implying that they wanted those guys back — it shows a little more respect to them — but knowing that they really didn’t. And whether the quarterback and another receiver wanted a player back is and should be a moot point to the front office.

  28. dolphins4 says: Aug 6, 2011 7:11 PM

    With Flacco at QB it won’t matter who they have or don’t have because he”ll choke in the playoffs when the pressure gets to him.

  29. raqaiw says: Aug 6, 2011 7:30 PM

    dolphins4 says: Aug 6, 2011 7:11 PM

    With Flacco at QB it won’t matter who they have or don’t have because he”ll choke in the playoffs when the pressure gets to him.
    Good luck even getting to the playoffs with
    Chad “Those Orton chants hurt my little feelings” Henne dude.

  30. 7370355q says: Aug 6, 2011 7:36 PM


    Didn’t Flacco beat the Dolphins in the AFC Wildcard game his rookie year…just sayin’.

  31. goforgin01 says: Aug 6, 2011 7:48 PM

    Said it in another thread…Mark Clayton, right player, right price. Was on his way to 70+ catches, 1000 yds 8-10 TDs with Bradford when he got hurt.

    Knows the system, veteran minimum with incentives, PR option. 8 years younger with a fraction of the mouth. Flacco likes him. All good.

  32. shieldsisland37 says: Aug 6, 2011 7:56 PM

    Is that snow in that picture? Is it snowing in Denver right now?

  33. Deb says: Aug 6, 2011 8:07 PM

    I have a lot of respect for Ozzie Newsome–he’s not a mistake-prone individual. My guess is that the Ravens would not have offered these guys close to what they got from their new teams. Rex is a players’ coach and he’s got the Jets believing. So Mason might have really chosen that opportunity. But I can’t see the other guys choosing the Broncos, Chiefs, and Cards over the Ravens if the offers were comparable. Not disrespecting the other teams, but the Ravens are a cohesive group, they love Harbaugh, and they’re a much stronger team.

    @rajbais …

    Bring in T.O.? Are you a Ravens fan or their worst enemy? Doing that to Flacco would be criminal. Joe takes more unfair garbage from people than any QB in my memory. All you need is to further undermine his confidence by putting a QB killer in his locker room. It’s bad enough that Cameron engineered the ouster of the QB coach that had Flacco’s numbers up in every category. If I were a Ravens fan, that off-season move would concern me more than anything Ozzie has done. Besides, T.O. has a torn ACL.

  34. mattyc says: Aug 6, 2011 8:12 PM

    As much as it pains me to say, they actually got 2 good receivers in the draft this season. Tandon Doss will be a steal for the Rats.

  35. paulieorkid says: Aug 6, 2011 8:19 PM

    6ringsofsteel, I’m a western PA born and raised Steeler fan – and even I thought your post was lame.

    You and those like you are why many resent Steeler Nation. You’re loud and high profile. You’re (unjustifiably) arrogant and attach a team’s success to your own self worth – plus you make us all look like complete turds.

    Cool yer ass off — as the great Jack Lambert might say.

    The Steelers have a proud history in the second half of their existence — but that wasn’t due to you, I, or any us who didn’t meaningfully contribute to their success.

    The Ravens are a great team — give ’em respect. They earned it — it’s deserved.

    Also, the bigtexas guy’s comments were spot on. The slant on this article was the Ravens got hosed on their big gamble – but bigtexas nailed it accurately and succinctly. Good job man!

  36. golonger says: Aug 6, 2011 8:36 PM

    and since LW assured me that Flacco will never beat my Steelers all is well…????

    Bruce…….if you are hanging on to what HE says you really have sunk to the lowest level….

  37. golonger says: Aug 6, 2011 8:37 PM

    tedmurph – true……but i think those 2 are exceptions 1) because they are both servicable not great….and 2) they are playing with thier same coordinator..

  38. outsiderj says: Aug 6, 2011 8:41 PM

    I love how guys like 6rings never bring up world championships, only super bowls. Guess thats because pittsburgh never won any. Baltimore won two, and two Super Bowls, however no one will come close to Green Bay when it comes to championships.

  39. cmich2006 says: Aug 6, 2011 9:25 PM


    No one really cares about anything prior to SBI and technically all but one SB belongs to Indy

  40. golonger says: Aug 6, 2011 10:32 PM

    cmich2006 – no moron, technically Indy does NOT own those…..they own the one…that’s it……and any Indy fan that would claim any different just shows why Indy is not an NFL caliber town…and why the greatest Colt EVER has a statue outside someone ELSES stadium….

    You don’t see the Ravens claiming Otto Grahams championships!

  41. golonger says: Aug 6, 2011 10:35 PM

    Deb, no…Zorn leaving doesn’t concern me……..the fact that he WAS there concerned me…….I used to love Zorn as a player but he has turned into a wierd moron to be honest!

  42. dhaman3 says: Aug 6, 2011 11:13 PM

    Actually the Orioles have won 3 world series and lost 3 world series , they won 1966, 1970 and 1983

    The Baltimore Colts won back to back NFL Titles in 1958, and 1959 and won superbowl 5, after losing superbowl 3 to the Jets.

    I totally respect the Steelers organization but some of their fans are just plain idiots, i mean they are a decorated franchise and have a large following only because of success i mean its not like millions are flocking to western PA for jobs or anything like that, actually its quite the opposite I know a ton of people from Pittsburgh that no longer live there. So Steelers fans please shut up and stop acting like you rule the world, and maybe buy a house without wheels …just sayin

  43. dhaman3 says: Aug 6, 2011 11:25 PM

    Whos got the worst QB Rating ever in NFL history in a Superbowl?????

  44. danrooneyii says: Aug 6, 2011 11:38 PM

    Ravens are looking at 8-8.

  45. reedhof20 says: Aug 7, 2011 12:30 AM

    We will be fine – even if we have a down year, the transition needed to commence. We were SLOW last year. The biggest offseason move for us came in the cold of February when Mattison (our dc for the last 2 years) left for Michigan. Pagano is a nut and will make Rex look vanilla. I wish Ravens’ fans would stop worrying about receivers and start worrying about finding a healthy, competent center. If we have problems this year, that is they will begin.

  46. ravensman says: Aug 7, 2011 1:55 AM

    Sixrings is right…the Steelers are the best football team that has ever played the game. The way they completely dominated the Packers in the last Super Bowl should be an example of their ability to dominate. The officials were obviously paid off when they called “touchdown” when the Packers crossed the goal line. The only way ANY team beats the steelers is because they cheat!

  47. ravensman says: Aug 7, 2011 2:03 AM

    It is a pleasure to read your posts that are objective and make sense.They are breath of fresh air in comparison to most of the other steeler fans that post here.

  48. rajbais says: Aug 7, 2011 2:52 AM

    @Deb Sorta kidding, but if he’s ready by the “end of the preseason” (as Drew Rosenhaus stated) the team should consider.

    You don’t think T.O.’s been humbled by this?

    Regardless, but Cam Cameron cost them their season because he hurt the rhythm of his receivers by not having them involved enough and he made the offense too predictable. He should be on the hottest seat out of anyone in Baltimore!!!

  49. asublimeday says: Aug 7, 2011 3:15 AM

    After he talked trash about the Halas family, I knew this guy was high.

  50. dhudge says: Aug 7, 2011 10:09 AM

    @ cmich2006…

    I realize the city of Baltimore got SCREWED when Irsay picked up the team (in the middle of the night) and left for Indy back in ’84, because technically Indy owns the name (Colts) and it’s history.

    BUT…any self respecting (Indy) Colts fan would never claim the ownership of the SB’s & previous championship’s prior to ’84. Wouldn’t you agree?

    If not, then you have serious issues that only a psychiatrist can help you with.

  51. golonger says: Aug 7, 2011 11:45 AM

    dhudge, let me correct you a bit. Indy (the city) doesn’t own anything but the one SB. The franchise may stake the claim but…..So, if The “Colts” want to say they have 2 SB victories….well, I guess TECHNICALLY, they can do that. If a random Indy donk fan wants to walk around saying they have 2 SB victories and that Johnny U played for them…they would be morons……….

  52. trekker38 says: Aug 7, 2011 12:14 PM

    Trust the process Ravens fans.

  53. hippostix says: Aug 7, 2011 1:55 PM

    This article is just plain silly. This league is a business. There’s no way the front office of the Ravens didn’t have restructured contracts already waiting before they cut these players. Of course they would’ve liked to keep players familiar with their system but if they don’t except what you’re willing to pay you have to move on. There’s no way the front office cut these players while also thinking it was a mistake. Ozzie Newsome is one of the best GMs in the league so I’m sure every possible outcome out of this situation satisfied him nonetheless.

  54. outsiderj says: Aug 8, 2011 10:11 AM



    The only teams/people that don’t care about anything before SB1 are teams that have never WON anything prior to SB1. They don’t call the 1958 the Greatest Game Ever played for NOTHING.

    As far as Indy having “TWO” Super Bowl Wins, explain this:

    Baltimore Colts 16
    Dallas Cowboys 13

    Doesn’t say Indianapolis Colts does it?

  55. mrpkg says: Aug 8, 2011 11:14 AM

    Heap & Mason are class guys, and always made big plays against the Steelers.

    With no #2, Boldin will be blanketed by defenses. After Boldin, is there another play maker in the passing game?

    With the addition of Leach, Baltimore will be a run first, run second, throw third team.

    This plays right into Pittsburgh’s strength.

  56. kevinravens says: Aug 8, 2011 11:32 AM

    Baltimore is easily the best football city in North America. Two World Championships, two Super Bowls, and nobody ever talks about it but they also won a Grey Cup in 1995, given to the CFL Champions. There will never be a city that will be able to say that. Ever.

  57. Deb says: Aug 8, 2011 3:23 PM

    @ravensman …

    Thank you!

    @rajbais …

    Don’t think anything could humble T.O. 🙂

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