I have to give Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome credit, he’s typically a good evaluator of talent. No matter what I think of his risky draft picks in recent years, Newsome knows when a guy’s talent has run out and when a replacement is ready for primetime. Just look at the Ravens tight end scenario this year. Nothing against Todd Heap, he was a great Raven, but his time had come and gone and Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson were ready to step up to the replace him.
But now I’m done patting Ozzie on the back. It’s time to be a little more critical. Tuesday’s deadline to sign defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is expected to pass. This means that the Ravens won’t be able to negotiate with their franchise player until after the season. That’s not good.
Even worse than that is the report from Adam Schefter of ESPN who said that the Ravens “have not talked contract in close to a month.” Schefter reports that the two sides “have agreed to disagree” in their discussions.
I will never understand not talking during any sort of negotiations. It made no sense to me when the players and owners weren’t meeting during the NFL lockout and it makes no sense to me in this scenario. I’m no general manager, but I know that you at least have to talk to work out a bargain. Ngata’s agents aren’t just going to forget about it and sign a long-term deal at the last minute.
Assuming Ngata continues to play at a high level this year, his asking price could be even higher at the season’s end. Just to give you some perspective, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh signed a five year contract last August worth $12 million a year, $40 million guaranteed. Expect Ngata to get at least that much.
I still think that Domonique Foxworth’s insane contract is holding the Ravens back. To me, he would have been one of the first cuts after the lockout ended. He’s failed to recover from ACL surgery and even if he does come back to 100 percent, he’s still not worth the four year, $27.2 million deal he signed with the Ravens in 2009.
Ngata is worth the money.