Ed Reed in driver’s seat with Ravens

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As one of last year’s Sunday Night Football games went to break, producer extraordinaire Fred Gaudelli played the song Driver’s Seat.  Peter King and I quickly tried to recall the name of the band.

I guessed Foghat, primarily because I like saying the word “Foghat.”  It was actually the one hit from one-hit wonder Sniff ‘n’ the Tears.

And then I couldn’t get the song out of my head for like 10 days.

It’s now clanging around in my relatively hollow noggin again, after typing the headline to this story.  But it was the only way to describe the current situation in Baltimore.

With Ray Lewis gone and Anquan Boldin gone and Paul Kruger gone and Dannell Ellerbe gone, the Ravens have to keep Ed Reed.  Which means that they may be paying more for Reed than they wanted to pay.

It all started, in our view, with the gamble the Ravens made in 2012 regarding Joe Flacco’s contract.  They didn’t give him what he wanted at the time, knowing that if he led the team to the Super Bowl they’d have to pay the piper at the appropriate time.

The problem is that, when the Super Bowl MVP gets a new contract only a few weeks after the game and becomes the highest-paid player in league history in the process, it becomes very difficult to persuade anyone else on the team to take anything less than top dollar.

It was already a foregone conclusion that the Ravens couldn’t/wouldn’t give Kruger what he could get elsewhere.  But the Ravens misplayed their hand with receiver Anquan Boldin, taking advantage of his “I’ll retire if I’m cut” comments to Pro Football Talk and trying to squeeze him into taking less money.

Why should he take less money when the Super Bowl MVP is getting $20.1 million per year?  The fact that at least two other teams were willing to absorb Boldin’s $6 million salary proves that, for a player of his caliber, $6 million for one year isn’t too much.

The Ravens may have similarly underestimated Ellerbe, who said last month, “My heart is in Baltimore, I love Baltimore, I love the fans, I love talking to y’all guys and I know I’m not going to talk to y’all somewhere else.”

It all changes once a $29 million check gets written to Flacco.  If winning the Super Bowl means getting paid if you can and there’s a team willing to pay more than the Ravens, then you chase the cash.

That’s why the Patriots apparently tried, subtly, to create the impression that Tom Brady’s new contract results in less money in the future and less money now.  When guys like Wes Welker are considering the possibility of making more elsewhere, the “take less and win” vibe can make a difference.

In Baltimore, the Ravens’ gamble resulted in Flacco getting the more not less — and it has created an atmosphere where everyone else justifiably wants that, too.

Advantage Ed Reed.

45 responses to “Ed Reed in driver’s seat with Ravens

  1. Flacco gambled, and both win in the short term. But this will be a very mediocre team for the remainder of the Flacco era. Flacco in essence has to do what Drew Brees does, carry an average to below average team to the playoffs. The same Joe Flacco that Raven fans weren’t even sure they wanted halfway through last season.

  2. Ozzie wasn’t going to overpay for either Ellerbe or Kruger. Ravens lose good players every year in FA. It’s the cost of drafting very well. You can’t afford to keep everyone. That being said, it would be huge to keep Reed. Especially after losing Q…Losing Boldin was the toughest pill to swallow for the Ravens. Time for Ozzie to lock up Reed and have a good draft to restock the depth..

  3. Why not let him go? I could see Ozzie adopting the view that when changes are being made en-masse just after a Super Bowl win there’s no better time to make those changes.

  4. Great read! Not sure why there’s so many idiots saying Flaaco’s deal had nothing to do with it. Bolden DESERVES his lil $6 million as does Kruger and def Ellerbe.

  5. For someone who claims to know so much about football, you know nothing about how the Ravens do things. They have a number in mind and that is it. They didn’t “misplay” their hand with Boldin. They will get rid of Reid too if they have to and they will keep winning. They lost a ton of people last year as well and last time I checked they won the Super Bowl.

  6. You make it seem as if the Ravens organization are complete fools. If you have a problem with the Ravens just post that your bitter and move on.
    -Boldin isnt worth 7 million he cant get any separation and hes not going to magically get faster.
    -Ellerbee and Kruger have a combined 20 starts.That payed them more then 72million.How is that worth it after a combined 8 years in the league?
    People who hate the Ravens every offseason laugh when they loose players.
    The same people that declared the Ravens dead after Suggs got hurt. Howd that end?

  7. Man your pink thing really is hanging hard for Brady and the Patriots. Brady did the right thing BY TAKING LESS NOW TO HELP THE TEAM. And he has always have done that I know it pains you but that’s the deal. Flacco’s contract just ruined the Ravens for at least 2-3 yrs as the try and replace the missing parts they’ve lost. You mad. bro? Brady plowed your ole lady or something? At first you say the contract is phony only to double back and say let’s see if it stands for two years if he’s playing well. Remove the buttplug, dude, seriously.

  8. Quarterback is the most important position in the NFL, that is why they get the most money.

    You don’t give inside linebackers that have 14 career starts in 4 years, who have never played a full season due to injuries $7 million per year. Unless you’re the Dolphins.

    Congrats to the Dolphins, they win the free agency Superbowl. Will they sniff the REAL playoffs this year?

  9. Actually it’s a case of an awesome GM not willing to bankrupt the future of the team. Every year I hear this talk of how Ravens will be in the basement due to losing player A, B, and C. And every year, the Ravens are right back in the mix come playoff time. The model of consistency rolls on. Cheers!

  10. Why should he take less money when the Super Bowl MVP is getting $20.1 million per year?

    You know this isn’t true. STOP being a drama queen and making crap up. Flacco is making $1 Million this year with a signing bonus, and his cap hit is $6.8 mil which is less than last year.

    The Ravens are reloading and it has NOTHING to with Flacco’s contract for at least 3 years.

  11. LMAO at the Ravens “have” to keep Ed Reed.

    I don’t think you have paid much attention to how Ozzie Newsome works.

    All this doom and gloom sounds EXACTLY like the days following the end of the lockout when we released our starting NT (Kelly Gregg), starting WR (Derrick Mason), starting TE (Todd Heap), and Willis McGahee.

    We have lost a OLB who is so good he has been a starter for one season and only played a third of our defensive snaps in the biggest game of the year while healthy (22 out of 60 defensive snaps), an ILB who has never had a starting job without players being hurt…even during this year and has serious problems being constantly injured, and a very good WR who can’t run and will be 33 this year.

    IMHO, only Boldin really hurts, but the reality is that it’s not like he is totally irreplaceable.

    Now according to you we NEED a soon to be 35 year old safety who can’t tackle and can no longer jump routes like he used to.

    Ozzie isn’t Jeff Ireland or whoever is in charge in Cleveland…he is not going to overpay for a non essential positition.

  12. Ellerbe started just thirteen games in his first four years and has never played in more than 13 games in a season since he has been in the league. No way Ozzie shells out top MLB money for that. Kruger’s success was purely a product of Suggs return. Will be VERY surprised if he plays to his pay in Cleveland. Anquan is old. Probably won’t perform like he did in the playoffs ever again. As hard ad it is to see those guys go, it makes sense. Good article though Florio.

  13. On the contrary, it means he’s next to leave. If Baltimore cut Boldin to save $6 mil, why would they overpay an aging Reed?

    I think Reed is New England bound. They’ve been awfully quiet and everyone knows how Belichick feels about Reed, and vice-versa.

  14. It’s not a perception.

    The bottom line is… Guys who had much more to do with the ravens getting to the Super Bowl feel they should have gotten paid before flacco

    Especially veterans like boldin.

    ANYONE can lob a ball up and hope a receiver makes play after play after play… Like Torrey smith and Anquan boldin and jacoby jones made.

    But not every receiver can finish those plays like those three did.

    With ray Lewis gone, ellerbe was the ONLY real linebacker left on the squad. And he was making plays with one hand in a huge cast. They’d definitely pay him, right? Nope!

    The ravens would have been better off paying everyone else and letting flacco walk. No other team would benefit him the way the ravens have. Even if he went to Atlanta with this two receivers and tony Gonzalez… He wouldn’t have anywhere bear the same success.

  15. Brady’s new contract (including all upfront money) is for less money than he would have made in the next two years, after that the next three years are way below market value. This results in a very team friendly cap number throughout the life of the contract.

    You sound like a stalker. Get over your obsession with Brady.

  16. I don’t understand why people are acting like losing these players is the end of the world for the Ravens. Sure, these players have been instrumental in their success for several years. However, the Ravens are transitioning into an offensive-oriented team. They don’t need their defense to play at an elite level to win anymore. Oh yeah, this is coming from a Steelers fan, so it’s certainly an unbiased viewpoint.

  17. You state that the Ravens “have to keep Ed Reed”.

    But you never really give a reason why. You go on to explain why others left and why remaining players have a right to expect more based upon what Flacco got.

    But you never quite get around to explaining why a team that has no history of making knee jerk decisions that don’t improve the team would all of the sudden go crazy and overpay a 34 year old safety that they had already pretty much decided to move on without.

    If anything, it makes less sense to keep him now that the others are gone. Why pay top dollar at one position on defense when you’ve already decided to go young and cheap at others?

  18. Watermelon was probably one of those guys that used to bash Flacco for checking down to Rice all the time… Make up your mind.

    If Manning, Brees, Brady or any other QB made the same plays Flacco did during the playoff run, they would be looked at completely different. Time for people to get over it and realize Flacco is a top QB in this league. Is he the best? No, but he is a proven winner that has the hardware to prove it.

  19. It’s okay guys, because SI has Ozzie rated as the #1 front office.

    And besided, when guys like Bolding were making exceptional catches in double coverage and the defense was keeping the Ravens in close games… I totally thought… you know, Flacco deserves the most money of anyone who ever played pro football.

  20. Sure…the Ravens should let Flacco walk.

    Maybe they could sign Ryan Fitzpatrick! Or draft Kyle Boller! Or trade for Kevin Kolb! I mean ANY QB can go through a postseason throwing 11 TD’s and 0 INT’s. Or 18 TD’s and 2 INT’s over the last 3 postseasons! I mean Matt Ryan could do that only if he had a WR who was fast, and a WR who could win a jump ball or 2! I mean Julio Jones could never win jump balls or run by people! Roddy White isn’t in Torrey Smith’s league!

    Some of you idiots kill me with the flat out refusal to give Flacco any credit at all.

  21. How many hours now until Reed starts in with his annual “Maybe I’ll just retire…” bit, like he has the past 3 years?

  22. That’s why the Patriots apparently tried, subtly, to create the impression that Tom Brady’s new contract results in less money in the future and less money now.

    Again with the straw man? Everyone else in the NFL seems to understand that Brady’s contract involved taking less money than he could have gotten if he had pursued the Manning/Flacco/everyone else strategy. Instead he got a minor boost now and guaranteed (but less than market value) money later, and the team got a big cap reduction now and no cap-killing contract squabble with its franchise QB later (see: Flacco). That’s called win/win. Only PFT and its lead conspiracy theorist have created this “less money now” silliness.

  23. Um, it’s March. MARCH LOL. Only day one of free agency. The draft has yet to happen, and the post draft cuts have yet to happen. Which is when Ozzie does a good amount of his work in pickin up veteran FA’s. We’ll be fine.

  24. How does the outcomes of any of these otehr players effect Ed Reed. Just becasue the Ravens have some money to spend doesn’t mean they are going to spend it on a broken-down Safety. It does NOTHING to help Reed..sorry, totally incorrect

  25. “Sean Taylor was going to be so much better than Reed. Oh and the Ravens are a joke. That’s why everyone is leaving Bal’mur hun!”

    Yeah, thats it, LOL. Washington is the joke which where everyone wants to go to get their final payday and relax. The funny thing is, the Skins arent even good and they are ALREADY in cap hell, AGAIN. LOL. Enjoy the 6-10 season this year, and the new name!

  26. why do you keep writing we gambled? flacco turned down 17 million per year before the season started, how much were we really going to save if we signed him prior to that anyway? not really anything when you account for the fact he played for like 8 million this season

  27. “And besided, when guys like Bolding were making exceptional catches in double coverage and the defense was keeping the Ravens in close games..”

    Not sure which team you were watching, it certainly wasn’t the 2012 Baltimore Ravens!

  28. the sign of a good team is losing players every year because other teams pay them top dollar. the sign of a great team is replacing those players without overspending and continuing to move forward in the playoffs and win a superbowl. thats the ravens…they will be fine

  29. @watermelon1 – you’re commentary is a joke. When the defense was dominant, everyone said that’s why the Ravens won. When Rice plays awesome, clearly it’s him. Now that Flacco literally carried this team on his back to a SB, it’s all of a sudden the receivers that were awesome. Give me a break. Boldin put up pedestrian numbers for three years on this team and could no longer get separation. Flacco’s passes to Torrey were on the money and Jacoby had to make ONE play where he came back to the ball. Greg Cossell repeatedly has stated that the Ravens receivers could not get separation, and under Cam, looked like a 1950s offense. Flacco is the man and played like one throughout the playoffs and that’s why they won. No other QB could have done what he did.

  30. haterade up there proves the Flacco contract isn’t the problem, and since every player understands the salary cap exists I disagree with your new basic premise that since Joe got a huge deal everyone else should get a huge deal — they all now there’s only so much money to go around.

    The Ravens’ “problem” was a lot of guys played well on the biggest stage you have, and their contracts happened to be up. A little extra visibility is going a long way, and GMs with more cap room than sense think magic might be real. All of the now ex-Ravens are making too much money. There’s a reason CLE and MIA are in the basement — and it ain’t because of smart GMing.

    You can’t blame the players, the league treats them like crap so why wouldn’t they go get paid. But for the love of anything, stop acting like Flacco’s contract was the impetus for a mass exodus. Had they lost to Indy in the divisional Boldin would still be gone, Kruger would be making half what he just got, and Ellerbe would have re-signed.

  31. Can’t pay Joe average that much money to
    the demise of a good franchise. Joe’s arm
    alone did not win playoffs or SB. Face it folks,
    Ozzie & Owner got hosed. No other franchise
    would have paid him that amount of money,
    especially the upftont money. It will be two
    or three years before the team can right itself
    in esteem, comradery and be Ravens Nation

  32. OMG, people are still saying “Bolden.”

    There were about 50 headlines about him, you should know how to spell his last name by now!!!!!

  33. footballislife51 says:
    Mar 13, 2013 9:37 AM
    For someone who claims to know so much about football, you know nothing about how the Ravens do things. They have a number in mind and that is it. They didn’t “misplay” their hand with Boldin. They will get rid of Reid too if they have to and they will keep winning. They lost a ton of people last year as well and last time I checked they won the SB


    Shouldn’t a SUPERFAN like yourself at least know how to spell Ed Reed’s name.

  34. They mis-played their hand with Boldin? This website BEFORE the playoffs even started noted that Boldin was a possible cap casualty. One of your predictions finally comes true and you make it like the team made a mistake.

    Ed Reed’s leverage will similarly to Ellerbe and Kruger be in what another team is willing to pay. The Ravens usually have a very good grasp on what their players are worth. Thus I don’t think Reed has much leverage at all.

  35. @logicalvoicesays,

    Skins have been a joke for so long that no one takes you seriously anymore. Who’s playoff nemesis is the Seahawks?? It’s hilarious to watch the debauchery unfold. You sell the farm to get the best player out of college in years and you BLOW it, just like you and your loser organization does annually. It’s beautiful. It’s grand. I enjoy to watch.


    Jimmy McNulty BPD

  36. I love Ravens fans like jamaltimore and such changing their tune on Ellerbe. If he had been signed by the Ravens for close to the same money Miami paid (which all indications are they offered him), they would be blowing off the loss of Ray Lewis by saying Ellerbe outplayed him last year and that they will be just fine….that he is an up and coming player in the mold of Ray. Now, he’s a useless player that the Ravens fans are acting like they could care less that they lost.

  37. Speaking of changing their name, why don’t they just go ahead and volunteer to call themselves the Pinkskins? Nobody would object to that, would they?

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