I didn't think the Ravens could land a high-quality veteran safety like Michael Huff for a 3-year $6 million deal, seeing as Huff was due a $4 million signing bonus and a $4 million salary for 2013 from the Oakland Raiders.
But somehow Ozzie pulled it off.
Michael Huff, FS/CB, age 30, 6-1, 208, 6th year out of Texas, drafted in the 1st Round by Oakland in the 2006 NFL Draft...
This is a quality player pickup by the Ravens. Huff, who was released on March 12 as part of the Raiders’ roster purge, started all 16 regular season games in six of his seven seasons with Oakland.
The 30-year-old is expected to immediately start for the Ravens, who lost both starting safeties from last season.
Huff, the seventh overall pick in the 2006 draft after a standout collegiate career at Texas, had 56 tackles, two interceptions and 13 pass breakups last season while being asked to primarily play cornerback because of a rash of injuries in the Raiders secondary.
Known as a solid tackler with good ball skills who has struggled at times in coverage, Huff had 11 interceptions and 55 pass deflections in seven seasons for the Raiders.
His best season was in 2010 when he had 94 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and three interceptions. He was named to the All-NFL second team by the Associated Press following that season.
You may remember how the Ravens were extremely interested in Huff heading into the 2006 draft. However, they never got a chance to take him. Huff was selected five picks before the Ravens took Oregon defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.
This move really helps to solidify the Ravens defense up the middle. It also gives Ozzie and John Harbaugh a veteran compass to help with communication issues in a brand new defensive backfield.
The Ravens re-signed veteran safety James Ihedigbo and have high hopes for one of their younger safeties, like Christian Thompson or Emanuel Cook, to emerge. They also figure to take a safety early in the draft. However, they badly needed the experience and skill set of Huff, who has 10 interceptions over the last four seasons.
Hats off to Ozzie. I don't know how he does it. I can't wait to see the details of Huff's new contract... the guaranteed money must have been the clincher. And I'll bet there are unwritten incentives involved, too, such as implied potential of renegotiation based upon performance.