Reality Bites at Season’s End
As the Ravens prepare for what is likely their final game of the season (unless their friends in Jacksonville can help a brother out), the postgame mood will be somber, even borderline melancholy. Many teammates, intense co-workers for months, even years, some, the best of friends, will go their separate ways. Career journeys will veer in different directions influenced by the salary cap, free agency or an aging skill set. The 2021 edition of the Baltimore Ravens will never be the same.
As fans, we sometimes see the players as pieces to a puzzle, one that we hope is strong enough to compete and win a championship. When the puzzle isn’t as strong as that of the competition, we look to strengthen the puzzle with new pieces. The players are mere pawns in the quest for victory and the collateral damage from that viewpoint are the men wearing those uniforms. Sometimes, through our insatiable thirst to win, this element – the human element, is lost upon us.
Think about your job, your co-workers. Those who have become friends and are now entwined in the fabric of your life. If they changed jobs, might the friendship be stressed? It’s certainly possible. Such occurrences aren’t regular. Maybe they happen every few years. For NFL players, it happens annually – in mass. The average attrition of an NFL roster is 25%. For the Ravens it might be even heavier than that in 2022.
Brandon Williams, Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe, Pernell McPhee, Jimmy Smith, DeShon Elliott, Anthony Averett, Tavon Young, Sam Koch, Patrick Ricard, Alejandro Villanueva, Ben Powers, Bradley Bozeman, Anthony Levine, Sammy Watkins, Josh Oliver, Eric Tomlinson, Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, Miles Boykin and even more could be leaving.
Of course, this is what the players sign up for. They know it going in. It’s the nature of the beast, the nature of the NFL – Not For Long.
No. 1 Receiver
Earlier this week I wrote a piece about Marquise Brown and the pending 5th year option that the Ravens must exercise by May 2 or risk losing Brown following the 2022 season. RSR’s capologist Brian McFarland estimates that the option will cost roughly $13M. We asked fans in a poll what the Ravens should do and the results as of this writing, are 52% to 48% against exercising the option.
Many will debate Brown’s accomplishments and throw shade while concluding that the 2019 first-round pick is not a true No.1 receiver. What does that even mean?
If you define a “true No. 1” as a player who has great hands, stretches the …….