When the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV, they restructured a lot of contracts to ensure that the nucleus of their title team remained together as long as possible.
The result was not a repeat championship. The Ravens made the playoffs in two of the next three years, but they slowly decended into salary cap hell as a result of those post-Super Bowl decisions and the team slumped before Brian Billick was fired.
According to General Manager Ozzie Newsome, the team learned its lesson that time and won’t let history repeat itself. At a press conference in Baltimore Thursday, Newsome was explicit in saying that the team wouldn’t restructure deals just to maintain the presence of veterans from the current team.
“We have a great nucleus of young players,” Newsome said.
Newsome said he’d consider restructuring particular players, specifically ones likely to reach the end of their deals, but his message can’t be seen as a good sign for those hoping to see wide receiver Anquan Boldin back next season. Boldin’s $5.5 million salary has been pointed to as one the Ravens may need to erase in order to get under the cap and it’s worth wondering how long the Ravens will want to remain in business with a player who turns 33 in October.
Newsome also expressed confidence that a deal will get done with quarterback Joe Flacco and said he hasn’t had any official discussions with safety Ed Reed about returning next season. If Reed does return, it sounds like the team would like him to be a mentor to younger players as the Ravens prepare to move forward without some of the players who helped them win the Super Bowl this year.