Originally written on WhoDeyFans  |  Last updated 10/20/14
As unexcited as I was about the teams participating in this year’s Super Bowl, congratulations are still in order to the winner. So here is a tip of the hat to the Baltimore Ravens, along with as many nice things as I can muster. (Sorry it isn’t a longer list.) A sincere, heart-felt congratulations to Bobbie Williams on collecting a ring. He was nothing but class in his 8 years with the Bengals. I am truly glad for the big guy. I am sure that there is no better feeling for Ray Lewis than going out on top. With the game now over, Ray’s career moves into the past tense. He had not been the larger-than-life figure on the field the past couple of years, but the lack of his emotional leadership will have some effect on the team next year. I’m not saying the team will fall apart without him, but a hole in the team’s fabric is still a hole. It will take some time for the team to adjust to life without him. Joe Flacco earned himself a big, fat payday with the win and with gaining the MVP title in the process. And I hope he smashes the team’s piggy bank. PFT is speculating that he will cost the team north of $20M per year. (Can you say “Cha-ching!” boys and girls?) Both the team and Flacco made statements in the immediate aftermath of the game that they want him to play in Baltimore for the rest of his career. But love of city and team isn’t going to get the deal done. I would not be surprised if Flacco’s agent opens negotiations with the Ravens at 5 years/$120M with half guaranteed. That being the case, Flacco will consume at least one-sixth of the team’s $120M salary cap next year. And the team was estimated to have only $15M-$16M in cap space for 2013 before the Super Bowl win. This will put the team in the same position that the Steelers are dealing with now: renegotiating and cutting the contracts of expensive veterans to be able to keep key players. If the Ravens need to clear out $4M+ to ink a deal with Flacco, plus another $6M-ish to sign their draft picks, they are going to have a difficult time keeping other key free agents. Paul Kruger had a strong season and will undoubtedly be the target of several teams in need of a productive pass rusher. Dannell Ellerbe will also be pursued by several teams. Both TEs–Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson–are restricted free agents this year. They won’t be terribly expensive to keep (this year), but every dollar will have to come from somewhere. Other notable free agents include Bryant McKinnie, James Idehigbo, Cary Williams, and of course, Ed Reed. So congratulations, Baltimore. Enjoy it now before the hangover sets in.
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