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Ravens Receive Four Compensatory Picks

March 24, 2014 in News, NFL Draft

The Baltimore Ravens have received four compensatory draft picks today for losses sustained in free agency last year.

These four picks come in the third (No. 99 overall), fourth (Nos. 134 and 138) and fifth round (No. 175). The maximum number of compensatory picks that a team can receive is four. The addition of these four picks––which can't be traded––push the Ravens total pick count in the upcoming draft to eight.

Joe Flacco

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Ever since the NFL has implemented the compensatory pick system in 1994––two years before the Ravens were established in 1996––the Ravens have led the league in total compensatory picks awarded with 41. The next closest are the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys who each have received 33.

General manager Ozzie Newsome loves compensatory picks as they are "free" draft picks. This shows in the numbers above.

Teams are awarded compensatory picks for losing more or better free agents than they signed during the free agent period. Players cut by teams don't count in this equation and there is a cut-off date for signings to have an impact on the compensatory draft pick formula.

Last offseason the Ravens lost outside linebacker Paul Kruger (Cleveland Browns), inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (Miami Dolphins), safety Ed Reed (Houston Texans) and cornerback Cary Williams (Philadelphia Eagles) in free agency.

According to the formula, the Ravens signed zero free agents that effected compensatory picks. The outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, safety Michael Huff and defensive end Marcus Spears were all cut by their prior teams. Inside linebacker Daryl Smith was signed after the deadline for signings to impact compensatory picks.

It comes as no surprise that the Ravens received four compensatory draft picks as this was expected. The actual picks that the Ravens received represented the best case scenario for the team as it was thought they would receive two fourths, one fifth and one sixth by many people––including me.

Ravens Trade For Jeremy Zuttah

March 23, 2014 in News

The Baltimore Ravens have traded a 2015 mid-round draft pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for center Jeremy Zuttah.

The Ravens have signed him to a new, long-term contract that reduces his cap hit for this season from what it was on his old contract. At this point in time, terms of the contract are unknown.

Just 27-years old (28 at the start of the season), he had two years left on a four-year contract worth $16.5 million that he signed with the Buccaneers back in 2012. He was owed $4.5 million this season and $4.25 million next season.

Jeremy Zuttah

Courtesy of ICON SMI

This past season, he started all 16 games for Tampa Bay with 15 of these starts coming at center. (The other start was at left guard.) According to Pro Football Focus, he graded as the 22nd best center in the league (out of 35). If his performance at left guard is taken into account, then he would have been the tied for the 19th best center.

Drafted by the Buccaneers in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Rutgers, he spent his entire career in Tampa Bay before this trade.

As a rookie in 2008, he started five games (right and left guard). In 2009 he started all 16 games at left guard. The next season (2010) saw him lose his starting job, but earn a new starting job at center partway through the season as he started nine games (eight at center and one at right guard). In 2011 he moved back to left guard for 13 starts and one start at center. In 2012 he split his 16 starts between center (seven) and left guard (nine).

His best season came in 2008 as a rookie according to Pro Football Focus, but that was as a limited starter. His best season as a full-time starter was in 2011 where he graded as the 26th best left guard in the league (out of 78).

Playing his college football at Rutgers, he blocked for current Ravens' starting running back Ray Rice. Growing up in Edison, N.J., he grew up about 10 miles away from the Ravens' starting left tackle Eugene Monroe who is from Plainfield, N.J. It is reported that Monroe and Zuttah are friends––which would make sense.

The exact draft pick compensation is unknown at this time, but it is expected to be a 2015 mid-round pick. This makes it the fourth trade that the Ravens have completed in the past year dealing with their offensive line. They have traded for Monroe and A.Q. Shipley while trading away Bryant McKinnie. All of these trades have involved draft picks:  fourth and fifth-round picks for Monroe, a seventh-round pick for Shipley and a seventh round pick in return for McKinnie.

For the Ravens, he is expected to play center. Last year's starter Gino Gradkowski graded as the worst center in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. It was obvious that the Ravens needed to upgrade this position and it looks like they have found their upgrade with Zuttah.

Assuming that Zuttah's brand new contract isn't worth too much––about $3 million per year sounds right––and assuming the 2015 draft pick is a mid-round pick––the fourth and fifth rounds are usually considered this––then this is a good trade for the Ravens. While it sounds like there are a lot of conditions for this to be a good trade for the Ravens, when you consider that his contract is being lowered from just over $4 million per year and the pick is already being called a mid-round pick, then it doesn't look like that.

Overall the Ravens upgraded at center, where an upgrade was severely needed. Zuttah should come in and give the Ravens solid play. He won't be anything special, but he should solidify the center position.

Ravens Sign Darian Stewart

March 21, 2014 in Free Agency, News

Today the Baltimore Ravens announced that they have signed safety Darian Stewart, formerly of the St. Louis Rams, to a one-year contract.

At this point in time the monetary value of the contract is unknown, but it is likely that the contract isn't for much money. The deal is pending a physical which will occur on Sunday.

Darian Stewart

Courtesy of ICON SMI

This past season the 25-year old started six games for the St. Louis Rams at strong safety and recorded 36 tackles, one forced fumble and five passes defended.

After going undrafted in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Rams signed him as an undrafted free agent out of the University of South Carolina.

By 2011 he was a 13-game starter for St. Louis and he recorded 84 tackles, three sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles, 11 passes defended and he scored one touchdown.

In 2012 he was a backup again like 2010 and only had 10 tackles in 12 games. This past season he regained some of the playing time that he had lost.

According to Pro Football Focus, he was the 41st best safety in the league last season (out of 86). When he was a full-time starter in 2011 he graded as the 83rd best safety out of 87. That season he really struggled un run support.

On special teams, he is an average contributor and will likely see time there this season for the Ravens.

When he was signed by the Rams as an undrafted free agent, the Rams' head coach was Steve Spagnuolo. After spending last season as a Senior Defensive Assistant, Spagnuolo is now the Ravens' secondary coach. This likely precipitated the move to sign Stewart as Spagnuolo knows him well and clearly likes him.

This offseason the Ravens are looking for a rangy free safety to play next to last year's first-round pick Matt Elam. Stewart doesn't fit that mold as he is more of a strong safety and is a better fit as a backup. However, this is a good depth signing as the Ravens needed some depth at safety.

Ebron To Visit Ravens

March 19, 2014 in News, NFL Draft

University of North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron is scheduled to visit the Baltimore Ravens next month.

While speaking with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk on PFT Live, Ebron mentioned that he would be visiting the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions and the Carolina Panthers next month.

Eric Ebron

Courtesy of ICON SMI

The Ravens have already met with the 6-foot-4, 250 pound tight end at the scouting combine. This planned visit with the Ravens will be one of 30 official visits that NFL teams are allowed to have with draft prospects prior to the draft. Teams can also meet with players at the combine, the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Bowl. All three of these events have already happened so it is down to just official visits now.

Back in January, I slotted him to the Ravens in my mock draft. The number one tight end prospect in this year's draft, he has been compared to Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers. This comparison comes because both Ebron and Davis are physical specimens at the tight end position and have great speed.

After a good sophomore season with 40 catches for 625 yards, Ebron had a breakout season this year for the Tar Heels. He recorded 65 catches for 973 yards and four touchdowns. His best game came against the University of Miami (FL) when he had eight catches for a career-high 199 yards. In his bowl game––the Belk Bowl vs the University of Cincinnati––he impressed with seven catches for 78 yards.

His size creates major mismatches for defenses as he is too big to be covered by a defensive back, yet to fast for a linebacker. This athletic ability is what sets him apart from other tight ends in the draft. Players like this have become more and more popular in the NFL today. He has shown the ability to run a variety of routes including the popular seam route for tight ends. His blocking needs work––like almost all college tight ends––but he has potential and would be a decent blocker from the outset.

Currently, the Ravens have only one tight end under contract, Dennis Pitta––who was re-signed to a five-year contract this offseason. Pitta is a good, dependable tight end who works the middle of the field, but Ebron would add a different element to the Ravens' passing attack.

New offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak loves to utilize two-tight end sets so Ebron would be on the field often for the Ravens despite being second on the depth chart.

Ebron would be a good fit for the Ravens' offense and quarterback Joe Flacco would certainly appreciate having Ebron to throw to.

If Ebron is on the board when the Ravens pick with the 17th overall selection in the first round, expect him to receive heavy consideration.

Ravens Sign Steve Smith

March 14, 2014 in Free Agency, News

Today, the Baltimore Ravens announced that they have signed veteran wide receiver Steve Smith, formerly of the Carolina Panthers, to a three-year contract.

This three-year contract is worth a total of $11.5 million. This makes the average value per year of the contract $3.83 million. There was a signing bonus of $3.5 million. The total guaranteed money is currently unknown. When all of the contract information is available, a contract breakdown will be posted.

Since being drafted by the Panthers in the third round of the 2001 NFL Draft, the 34-year old had spent his entire NFL career there (13 seasons).

Steve Smith

Courtesy of ICON SMI

His best season came in 2005 where he caught 103 passes for 1,563 yards and 12 touchdowns. All of these are career-highs.

During his time in Carolina, he was a five-time Pro Bowl selection (2001, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2011) and a three-time All-Pro (2001 and 2005 first-team and 2008 second-team).

Last season he caught 64 passes for 745 yards and four touchdowns while playing in 15 games. As their number one receiver, he helped lead the Panthers to the playoffs number two seed in the NFC. They would lose in the Divisional Round to the San Francisco 49ers.

Back in the 2003 season, he helped lead the Panther to Super Bowl XXXVIII against the New England Patriots. The Panthers lost 32-29 in a thrilling game where he caught four passes for 80 yards and one touchdown.

An expressive player, he is known for being outspoken on and off the field. Last season, he and former Patriots––now Broncos––cornerback Aqib Talib got into it during a game. Tailb later left the game due to an injury. In a post game interview, a reporter asked Smith if he had anything to say to Talib. In response, Smith gave one of the best one-linners in history: "Ice up son."

Released by the Panthers a few days ago due to salary cap reasons––a high cap hit and old age never bode well for players––he will get to face the Panthers this season as the Ravens will host them this season.

He is the only free agent that the Ravens have signed so far that isn't one of their own. The Ravens tend to not be very active in free agency as they build through the draft. Since he was released, he won't count against the Ravens' compensatory picks in the 2015 NFL Draft. Currently, the Ravens would be getting three––the maximum is four––due to the losses of Arthur Jones, Corey Graham and Michael Oher.

With the addition of Smith, the Ravens top four wide receivers (in no particular order) are now him, Torrey Smith, Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones. This is an improvement from last season and gives the team flexibility heading into the draft. Torrey Smith and Brown are young and Jones is experience, but a true veteran presence was lacking last season without Anquan Boldin. Steve Smith can fill that void.

Overall, this is a good signing for the Ravens. They got a veteran receiver for quarterback Joe Flacco at a reasonable price. At the end of the day, the Ravens' receiving corps is improved.

Ravens Re-Sign Daryl Smith

March 14, 2014 in Free Agency, News

The Baltimore Ravens continue to keep their own players in free agency by re-signing inside linebacker Daryl Smith.

It is a four-year deal worth a total of $16.1 million. The guaranteed money and signing bonus are currently unknown. Once all the contract information is known, I will post a contract breakdown as always.

Last year was the only season that he had played with the Ravens during his career. Late in free agency, the Ravens signed him to a one-year deal worth just over $1 million.

Daryl Smith

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Prior to playing for the Ravens, he spent his entire career with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Drafted by them in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft, he spent nine seasons in Jacksonville starting a total of 124 games.

His best statistical season with the Jaguars came in 2011. He recorded 107 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception.

The reason the Ravens were able to get him so cheap last offseason was because he only played two games the year before. A nagging groin injury limited him to just two games all season. This injury––combined with his age, now 32––scared some teams away.

This signing turned out to be a steal for the Ravens. He stepped into the starting lineup right away and filled the void left by the legendary Ray Lewis who had just retied.

For the season, he had 123 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles, three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and 18 passes defensed. Of these, his tackles, sacks, interceptions and passes defensed were all career highs. His interception return for a touchdown was his first touchdown of his career. This occurred in week three at home against the Houston Texans.

In the Ravens' aggressive 3-4 defense, he excelled at blitzing. At least twice a game he would blitz through the "A" gap––between the guard and center. He also was great in pass coverage last season.

According to Pro Football Focus, he graded as the 16th best inside linebacker in the league out of 55. He had the fifth highest pass coverage grade and the third highest pass rushing grade. However, his run defense grade was the sixth worst in the league.

Last season, he provided key leadership and production at the inside linebacker position. Statistically he had a career year and even set a Ravens' franchise record for most passes defensed by a linebacker in one season. His performance last season earned him this new contract which pays him just over $4 million per season. This average value per year is reasonable for a player of his caliber at his position. It will be interesting to see how much guaranteed money that he received.

For Smith, this is a fair contract and a very impressive birthday present. He turned 32 today and I can't think of a better present than a new contract worth $16.1 million.

Overall, this is another solid signing for the Ravens this offseason. All they have done is re-sign their own players so far, but they have kept their most important free agents so far––something their couldn't do last offseason.

Ravens Re-Sign Monroe

March 11, 2014 in Free Agency, News

With free agency starting up today, the Baltimore Ravens made a move to keep one of their own players, left tackle Eugene Monroe.

It is a five-year deal worth a total of $37.5 million with $19 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $11 million. This is an average of $7.5 million per season. When all contract details are known, I will post a contract breakdown.

He came over to the Ravens in a mid-season trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars this past season. The Ravens gave up a fourth and a fifth round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Eugene Monroe

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Once he came over in this trade, he helped stabilize the Ravens' offensive line which suffered through a bad season. Protecting quarterback Joe Flacco's blindside, Monroe gave up just five sacks this season.

According to Pro Football Focus, he was the 12th best offensive tackle (10th best left tackle) in the NFL this past season. In 2012 he graded as the 15th best offensive tackle (10th best left tackle).

Re-signing him was the Ravens' number one goal heading into free agency over the last few days. They had already re-signed tight end Dennis Pitta to a five-year deal earlier this month.

Keeping Monroe is a very important to the Ravens' offense. Since Hall-of-Fame left tackle Jonathan Ogden retired after the 2007 season, the Ravens have struggled to find a replacement for him. Monroe is the best left tackle to play for Baltimore since Ogden, so it was important for the Ravens to retain Monroe.

A few days ago, it looked like he wasn't going to re-sign with the team. They were reported to be too far apart in contract negotiations and the Ravens let the franchise tag deadline pass without placing their tag on him. However, over the last day or so, other teams needing a left tackle keyed in on other targets leaving him for the Ravens.

Overall this is a good deal for the Ravens. They needed to keep Monroe as their offensive line was a mess last season and he was a bright spot. Getting him for $7.5 million over five years is a plus for the Ravens as well. He is one of the better left tackles in the league and they re-signed him to an affordable deal.

Ravens Re-Sign Pitta

March 1, 2014 in Free Agency, News

Yesterday, the Baltimore Ravens announced that they had re-signed tight end Dennis Pitta.

An impending free agent, he has signed to a five-year deal worth $32 million with $16 million guaranteed. This pays him as a top-10 tight end, which he is. At this point in time. all the other specific details of the contract––signing bonus, yearly cap hits, etc.––are unavailable, but when they are, I will post a contract breakdown. Expect his cap hit this season to be between $3-4 million. Cap hits in the first year of contracts are usually much lower than the average per year value of the contact, which in the case is $6.4 million.

Drafted by the Ravens in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, the 28-year old (29 at the start of the season) has quickly developed into quarterback Joe Flacco's favorite target.

Off the field, the two are best friends and on the field, this relationship carries over. Flacco's favorite receiver to look for is Pitta. This is one of the reasons why Flacco struggled this last season as Pitta missed the first 12 games with a hip injury.

Dennis Pitta

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Early in training camp, Pitta landed badly on his hip after making a leaping catch. In doing so, he dislocated and fractured his hip. At the time, it was thought that he would be out for the season. However, just before the season began, the Ravens placed him on injured reserve with a designation to return. This allowed to to return later in the season and he didn't have to take up a roster spot while recovering.

When he finally returned in week 14, he had an instant impact catching six passes for 48 yards and one touchdown in a 29-26 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

He finished the season with 20 catches for 169 yards and one touchdown.

His best season came the year before when the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII. For the season, the sure-handed Pitta had 61 catches for 669 yards and seven touchdowns. In the postseason, he added another 14 catches for 163 yards and three touchdowns, including four catches for 26 yards and one touchdown in the Super Bowl.

Not run blocker by any means, he is a pure pass-catching tight end––something that has become more and more common over the recent years. He spends a lot of his time lined up in the slot a receiver to create mismatches over the middle of the field. This led to speculation that he could have been ruled a wide receiver if the Ravens placed the franchise tag on him. Thanks to this new deal though, that won't be necessary.

New offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak loves to utilize tight ends and two tight end sets in his offense. While he has remade his offense to better fit the Ravens, expect Pitta to be a key component of this offense.

Currently, Pitta is the only tight end under contract with the Ravens right now, so more work is needed at this position. However, the main goal was to re-sign him and that has been accomplished.

It may look like he is overpaid a bit, but consider two things: he is Flacco's favorite target and tight ends are becoming more important to offenses every year. Even at $6.4 million per year, Pitta is only in the top-10 for tight ends in terms of average value of the contract. He is certainly a top-10 tight end the NFL and is worth more to the Ravens than any other team.

Entering this offseason, the Ravens had two priorities. One was to re-sign Pitta and the other was to re-sign left tackle Eugene Monroe. Now that Pitta has been re-signed, the Ravens can shift their focus to Monroe. If a deal can't be reached with him, then a possibility is to use the franchise tag on him. The deadline for this is Monday and it would cost the Ravens $11.7 million this season.

McClain and Leach Released

February 27, 2014 in Free Agency, News

Earlier today, the Baltimore Ravens announced that they had released inside linebacker Jameel McClain and fullback Vonta Leach.

Neither of these two moves comes as a real surprise as both of them had decently high salary cap numbers this season and these numbers were higher than their production warranted. When I predicted potential cap casualties for the team, both of them showed up on the list.

Cutting McClain will save the Ravens $3.2 million in cap room and the release of Leach saves $1.75 million. Combined, this saves the Ravens $4.95 million in cap room this season.

McClain has played his entire professional career in Baltimore after being signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2008 NFL Draft. Over the

Jameel McClain

Courtesy of ICON SMI

last four seasons, he was a starter.

His best season came in 2011 when he recorded 84 tackles, one sack and his only career interception. That offseason, he was signed to a three-year deal as a free agent.

Late in the 2012 season, he suffered a serious neck injury that initially put his playing career in question. However, he recovered and only missed six games this season.

When he returned this season, he started all 10 games and recorded 52 tackles and one forced fumble.

According to Pro Football Focus, he was the 34th best inside linebacker this season (out of 55). His main struggles came in run defense.

Arthur Brown, a second-round pick last year, and Josh Bynes, an exclusive rights free agent (which basically guarantees he will be back with the Ravens) will likely compete for McClain's starting spot. Daryl Smith––the other starting inside linebacker last season––is a free agent so what happens with him will determine whether Brown and Bynes will compete for one spot or be the two starters.

There is a chance that McClain could return to Baltimore on a cheaper deal, but it is likely that he tests the open market first.

Both players had just one year left on their contract and were on the Ravens' Super Bowl winning team in 2012 season.

Leach was signed as a free agent before the 2011 season and helped pave the way for running back Ray Rice and others over the last three seasons. Last offseason, he was released and then later re-signed to a two-year contract that he was currently on.

This season, his playing time was reduced––230 snaps compared to 579 the year prior––due to changes in the Ravens' offense. As a whole, the team struggled to run the ball and this led to more passing. Being a road-grading fullback, this left him out of the offense.

In the 2013 NFL Draft, the team acquired his replacement in the fourth round. Kyle Juszczyk was selected to take over for Leach. This led to Leach's initial release, but he was brought back when Juszczyk failed to impress in mini camp.

Now that Leach is gone, Juszczyk will take over the starting job at fullback. He is less of a run blocker and more of a versatile H-back. This means that he can move around between tight end and fullback. At Harvard, he played often in the slot as a tight end. This versatility should help the Ravens' offense be more explosive this season under new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.

Overall, these two moves made sense for the Ravens as they freed up $4.95 million in cap space by releasing two players who overpaid.

Suggs Signs Contract Extension

February 17, 2014 in Free Agency, News

Today, the Baltimore Ravens and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs agreed to a contract extension that will likely make him a Raven for life.

It was announced last night that the 31-year old Suggs and the Ravens had agreed to terms on a new contract and today they made it official at a noon Eastern time press conference.

A four-year extension on top of this season (so really a five-year deal), the total value of the contract is around $30 million. There is $16 million in guaranteed money and an $11 million signing bonus. The other $5 million in guaranteed money comes from the base salaries for this season ($1 million) and next season ($4 million). For this season, his cap hit is reduced from $12.4 million to $7.8 million which creates $4.6 million in cap space for the Ravens. In terms of actual money that he makes this season, he receives an increase as he will earn $12.4 million.

Terrell Suggs

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Entering the final year of his six-year $62.5 million deal, he was set to count as $12.4 million against the salary cap. This was the third-highest cap number on the team behind defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and quarterback Joe Flacco. Cutting or trading Suggs would have saved the Ravens $7.8 million in much needed cap space. Due to this high savings number––the largest on the team––it was widely reported that the Ravens would either cut him or renegotiate his contract to create a lower cap hit.

Drafted by the Ravens with the 10th pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, he has been with the Ravens his entire career and now seems set to finish his career in Baltimore.

Despite starting only one game as a rookie, he recorded 12 sacks (a Ravens' rookie record) and earned the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award.

An electrifying pass rusher, he has five seasons with over 10 sacks (2003, 2004, 2010, 2011 and 2013).

In the 2011 season, he performed at his best setting career-highs in sacks (14.0) and forced fumbles (7). He all tied a career-high with two interceptions. With this dominant performance, he was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, making him the third Ravens' defender to earn with award along with linebacker Ray Lewis (2000 and 2003) and safety Ed Reed (2004).

The following season––2012––wasn't so kind to Suggs as he tore his Achilles' tendon during the offseason. A significant injury that causes many players to miss entire seasons, Suggs returned in late October about five and a half months after surgery. In his first game back, he recorded four tackles and one sack against the Houston Texans.

Late in the season though, he tore his biceps muscle against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Missing only one game, he came back and played in the final two regular season games.

As the Ravens started their postseason run to Super Bowl XLVII, he was clearly at less than 100 percent, but that didn't stop him from recording 10 tackles and two sacks against the Denver Broncos in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. This two-sack performance helped the Ravens' upset the heavily favored Broncos.

In Super Bowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers, he had two tackles in the Ravens 34-31 victory.

Despite being injured for most of the season, he battled his way through it, and his reward was a Super Bowl ring.

This season, he entered the season in the best shape of his life and it showed early in the season. Through the first eight games of the season, he had nine sacks and seemed on pace to be named defensive player of the year again. However, over the second half of the season, his performance faded as he had only one sack over the last eight games of the season. He also had only 20 of his 80 tackles during the final eight games.

Not only is he a good pass rusher, he is also stout against the run. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the best run defending 3-4 outside linebacker this season. The worst he has finished as a run defender since they started grading in 2008 was 13th during his injury riddled 2012 season. Take that season away, and the worst he has finished is third.

The impact of this deal on the Ravens is massive. By reducing his cap number this sea on by $4.6 million, they free up much needed cap room. Left tackle Eugene Monroe and tight end Dennis Pitta are two key free agents that the Ravens had who are set to hit the open market. This $4.6 million can now be used to help sign either of them. It is enough money to take up the entire 2014 cap hit of one of these two.

Before, the Ravens could have easily been outbid for one of these two, but now with Suggs' new contract, they have a much higher likelihood of being able to re-sign both of them.

For Suggs, this deal makes sense as well because he now has a contract through the 2018 season. At the end of this season, he will be 36-years old and his football future will likely be in question. This deal lets him stay in Baltimore for what is likely to be the rest of his career and gives him more money this season.

Overall, this deal is a win-win. Both sides get what they wanted as the Ravens receive cap room this season and lock up one of their veteran leaders for a few more years. Suggs gets the security of a new contract, earns more money this season and gives him the opportunity to do something he saw Lewis do just one season ago––retire as a Baltimore Raven.