He never gets much press or media attention, but Arthur Jones at defensive tackle quietly helped the Ravens pull their bend-but-don't-break-defense together just in time to run the table in the 2012 playoffs.
Jones signed his restricted free agent tender Wednesday afternoon, ensuring he will be in Baltimore next season, according to Ryan Mink of the Ravens NFL website. Jones was given a second-round tender (worth $2.023 million), showing the Ravens’ happiness with him after he was originally a fifth-round pick in 2010.
The Syracuse product had a breakout year in which he played in all 16 games (starting six) and recorded 47 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He also had a sack and fumble recovery in Super Bowl XLVII. Jones, 26, will be part of a strong defensive line competition this summer with newly-signed veterans Chris Canty and Marcus Spears.
The Ravens still could give Jones a contract extension later this offseason. It’s something Owner Steve Bisciotti said he was thinking about doing. That's a very high compliment to Arthur Jones.
Baltimore also announced that another unsung hero, linebacker Albert McClellan, 26, signed his exclusive rights free agent tender (worth $555,000). Under that tender, he did not have any rights to negotiate with other teams.
McClellan broke into defensive duty with 11 starts last year all at SAM linebacker until rookie Courtney Upshaw took over. He made 49 tackles, had one sack and one forced fumble. In his second year, McClellan also made seven solo special teams tackles.
The former undrafted rookie free agent could slide into inside linebacker this year, as the Ravens currently have open spots with the departures of Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe. McClellan started once at inside linebacker during the 2011 season on the Thanksgiving game versus San Francisco.
Unsung heroes...Team team team... These are the kind of signings that should give Ravens fans renewed hope and confidence in the organization's ability to recover from losing six (6) defensive starters from last year.
The Jared Gaither files...
Oh what a disappointment...I mean, not just for Jared Gaither fans but also the Ravens and now the San Diego Chargers. It's still hard to believe that such a talented and powerful left tackle once again seems to have gone to waste.
Jared Gaither was cut by the Chargers less than a year after signing a huge FA contract. He sneaks out of town with a $6,000,000 bonus! Say Wha-a-a-a-a? Many inside the Bolts organization felt that Gaither wasn't trying hard enough to rehab from yet another back strain and he had an extremely low pain tolerance! "Do tell" is the murmur among many Ravens fans today.
Personally I don't discount Gaither's back pain. I've heard him speak in person and on the radio about it and he sounded totally sincere about his desire to get everything straightened out. The guy wanted to be a star tackle in the NFL. But to many, this "I'm hurt" thing is a ploy which sounds familiar and just reinforces why in Ozzie they trust...Ozzie usually knows when to dump dead weight.
I just never believed Gaither to be dead weight. I thought his potential would justify the waiting. I did not think he was worth the $6 million signing bonus he got from the Chargers, however. But apparently the Chargers thought he was worth the investment.
People tend to forget how Gaither came right in as a rookie for the Ravens and did a great job at left tackle. He's got so much talent, but a bad back took its toll and probably caused some depression which so many fans characterize as "mental issues" with Gaither. I don't think that it's fair to Gaither to call his chronic pain a "head case". If you personally know about back injury there's just no way you could play or even practice NFL football with the pain and stiffness.
Gaither's career as a player is probably over at too young of an age. That's a shame, but Gaither should not be held in shame. He gave it a go. The Chargers decided to cut their losses. It's a business. And I hope Gaither invests his money wisely and moves on to a successful career of his choice. It just won't be playing offensive tackle in the NFL.