Ray Lewis. Anquan Boldin. Paul Kruger. Dannell Ellerbe. Bernard Pollard. Ed reed will be next. All gone from the Ravens Super Bowl winning team. But guess who remains? No, I'm not talking Joe Flacco, or Torrey Smith, or even Ray Rice. Nope not talking, Terrell Suggs, or Haloto Ngata. I'm talking about the man who has built this franchise from the ground up. Ozzie Newsome. Has Newsome ever steered the Ravens down a bad road? Nope he hasn't, and he isn't going to this offseason. If there is one thing that I have learned over my many years following the NFL, and sports in general, it is this. No player, especially in the NFL, defeats father time. Ozzie is no fool. Boldin is on his last legs, Pollard and Reed are both aging, and quickly. Kruger isn't old, but lets pose this question... Does he have Dwight Freeney quickness, or JJ Watt strength? The answer is no. He is a hustle player, and that's all. Sure, those guys are nice to have, but they aren't worth anything close to the money that Cleveland gave Kruger. Losing Ellerbe was a clear shock to Ozzie and the Ravens, but that is it. He too is replaceable. The Ravens, like all the other elite franchises do not "make their money" in March. They make it in April.
The Ravens will be just fine come September.
Make no mistake, Boldin, Pollard, Reed, etc still have good football left in them, but at the right price, and for the right amount of years. None though, are guys that Baltimore HAD to keep. The secondary will be faster, the linebacking core will be younger and more explosive, and Torrey Smith will step in as the new number one option. Keep in mind, free agency JUST started. Baltimore has plenty of time to add pieces, and will likley do that on the secondary market. It's cheaper and comes with much less risk (1 and 2 year contracts). Newsome will also look at the Ravens season as a whole. This is a team that was crushed by injuries (because they were old) and truthfully under achieved until the playoffs (lost 4 of last 5 games in the regular season). If Joe Flacco doesn't complete a miracle bomb in Denver, all these moves would actually make complete sense. But he did, and now fans and rivals think Baltimore looks stupid for many of their moves. Did they go on to win the Super Bowl? Yes, they did. But there is no way this group was going to defend their title.
So lets wait and let the great Oz work his April magic. I have a feeling this roster will look just fine come July when training camp kicks off.