Tag:Ozzie Newsome
Posted on: March 2, 2012 1:57 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 2:36 pm
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Rice, Goldson, Campbell latest to be tagged

Rice will make $7.7 million in 2012 assuming he signs Baltimore's franchise tag. (Getty Images)
By Josh Katzowitz

Ravens running back Ray Rice, 49ers safety Dashon Goldson and Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell are the latest players to be offered franchise tags by their respective teams.

-We named Rice the top free agent running back in our latest rankings, but we also never expected Rice to reach the open market.

Rice apparently wants an Adrian Peterson type contract, and considering Peterson signed a seven-year deal worth $100 million before last season, Baltimore doesn’t necessarily agree with Rice’s assessment of his worth. As CBSSports.com’s Will Brinson wrote, a deal that mirrors Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams’ five-year, $43 million deal is probably more appropriate. Assuming he signs the tag, Rice will make about $7.7 million for 2012.

“As we have in the past, placing the franchise designation on a player allows us to keep negotiating on a long-term contract,” Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. “Our goal is to keep Ray Rice a Raven. We’ve done this with other outstanding players through our history, including Haloti Ngata a year ago.”

-As we told you a few days ago, the 49ers planned all along on placing their franchise tag on Goldson.

"By using the franchise tag on Dashon, it affords us the opportunity to continue to work on a long-term contract with him, while also ensuring he will be a 49er for a sixth season, in 2012,”  San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement.

Goldson and his then-agent Drew Rosenhaus apparently turned down a five-year contract worth $25 million from San Francisco last year, and Rosenhaus convinced Goldson he could get him a contract closer to what Chargers safety Eric Weddle (five years, $40 million) had signed.

But that obviously didn’t happen, and Rosenhaus was forced to OK a one-year, $2 million deal for Goldson. It makes sense, then, that Rosenhaus no longer works for Goldson -- who will make $6.2 million in 2012.

-Campbell was the No. 3 defensive end on our free agent rankings list, and the move to tag him by Arizona was expected.

"We’ve made no secret of the high regard in which we hold Calais,” said Cardinals general manager Rod Graves. “To be clear, reaching a long-term deal that will keep Calais with the Cardinals for years to come remains our primary objective.  This move today allows us the opportunity to continue working with Calais and his agent toward that goal and that’s exactly what we will do.”

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Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:33 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 2:28 pm
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Linebacker Rankings

Fletcher, at 37, might not have many options other than returning to Washington. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Leading up to the start of free agency on March 13, we're compiling the best 2012 NFL free agents by position. These are the linebackers.

While there are a ton of free agent linebackers about to come on the market -- I’ve counted approximately 80 -- there doesn’t seem to be many surefire game-changers in the bunch. London Fletcher, vastly underrated in Washington, is one such player, but other than him, you’ve mostly got solid guys who can be contributors to whichever team signs them.

Some of the better free agent linebackers have been taken off the board already, as D’Qwell Jackson has re-signed with Cleveland while Ahmad Brooks agreed to return to San Francisco. Here are the rest of those who probably will try out their fortunes on the market.

1a. Mario Williams


Breakdown: Though we have Williams as the No. 1 defensive end available, we have to give him some love on the linebacker list, as well. Simply because in Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme, Williams was an outside linebacker. He only played five games for the Texans last year before tearing his pectoral muscle, but with five sacks, he also proved he can be successful in a 3-4 defense, meaning every team in the league should be thinking about Williams' worth. We thought he might struggle to find his balance in the first year of Phillips' scheme, but, as a linebacker, Williams is pretty damn good also.

Possible Landing Spots: Texans, Jaguars, Seahawks, Titans

1b. London Fletcher


Breakdown: Fletcher is one of those players who, unless you’re paying close attention, somehow seems to rack up the tackle numbers -- and you’re not really sure how. And before you know it, he’s leading the league with 166 takedowns, like last year.  In fact, Fletcher has recorded at least 116 tackles every year since 2001, and he’s started 224-straight games. The problem with Fletcher is that he’s 37, and you have to wonder how long his durability will hold up -- as well as his penchant for making scores of tackles every season. That shouldn’t matter, however, because it sounds like he wants to return to Washington and that the Redskins feel the same way. “We want our captain back,” Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said earlier this month. The feeling apparently is mutual.

Potential Landing Spots: Redskins

Tulloch might be a good fit in Philadelphia because he knows how to play in the wide nine. (US Presswire)

2. Stephen Tulloch


Breakdown: After a solid 2008-10 with the Titans (the dude had 160 tackles in 2010), Tennessee let the Lions take away Stephen Tulloch for 2011. After recording 111 tackles, two interceptions and five passes defended last year, Detroit would like to keep him. It’ll likely cost the Lions much more than the one-year, $3.25 million deal they paid Tulloch last year. More importantly for the Lions, though, is locking up defensive end Cliff Avril, and you have to wonder if the Lions will want to shell out that much money to two defensive players. One good option for Tulloch might be the Eagles. Considering Tulloch played for years with Jim Washburn, who installed the wide nine scheme in Philadelphia last year, Tulloch would be comfortable in that system. Besides, the Eagles linebackers last year were pretty horrible, and Tulloch would be a big upgrade. Wherever he lands, one can only hope that Tulloch gets another chance to Tebow in front of Tebow.

Possible Landing Spots: Lions, Buccaneers, Eagles

3. Anthony Spencer


Breakdown: He’s pretty much the definition of one of those solid linebackers I wrote about before, and the Cowboys don’t fancy losing him to free agency. There has been speculation that the team could place the franchise tag on him, but if not, at least one Dallas reporter has speculated that Spencer could land a Chris Canty-like deal (a six-year, $42 million contract signed in 2009). The Cowboys might be averse to giving him such a long deal, because he hasn’t necessarily lived up to his first-round draft pick expectations. Spencer’s representatives and the Cowboys were scheduled to meet at the scouting combine, and if they can’t come to a long-term agreement, Dallas might just have to grit its teeth and tag him.

Possible Landing Spots:Cowboys, Dolphins

4. Curtis Lofton


Breakdown: For the past three years, Lofton has been a tackling machine, accumulating at least 118 (including 147 in 2011), and it’s clear the Falcons want to re-sign him. But when Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff says that negotiations between the team and Lofton are “amicable,” it strikes kind of a weird tone (or is that just me?). And maybe the Falcons won’t be terrified if Lofton leaves. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote last week, “There’s growing sentiment that he’s a liability against the pass. The question thus becomes: Would you pay $8 million a year for a two-down linebacker?” Lofton might want more than that. Reportedly, Lofton is asking or a four-year deal worth $36 million.

Possible Landing Spots: Falcons, Eagles, Browns

5. David Hawthorne

Breakdown: With Hawthorne, you pretty much know what you’re getting. He’s good for about 110 tackles a season, five passes defended or so, and an interception or three. But it sounds like the Seahawks have a higher priority to sign running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive end Red Bryant than inking Hawthorne to a new deal. Hawthorne is only 26 years old, and he’s solid across the board. But maybe more than most of the other linebackers on the list, there’s not a great chance for him to return to his old team. The one caveat to that: now that Leroy Hill is facing another drug charge, that might open up Seattle’s interest in Hawthorne again.

Possible Landing Spots: Bears, Cowboys, Seahawks

6. Jarret Johnson


Breakdown: The Ravens, at some point soon, might have to make a choice between whether they want Johnson or Jameel McClain (see below) to return to Baltimore for 2012. General manager Ozzie Newsome had said he wants to keep both, but that will be tough for the club to accomplish. So, if you’re Newsome, who is the priority between Johnson and McClain? Well, McClain had more tackles (84-56) last season  but less sacks (Johnson had 2.5 to McClain’s 1), and the Baltimore Sun predicts the Ravens have a better chance of retaining Johnson. He is, though, four years older, which might mean Baltimore will actually go harder after McClain. “I’d like to fit in again here,” Johnson said last month, via the team’s official website. “But unfortunately this is a business and sometimes business decisions [have] got to be made. I hope to be back. I’d love to retire a Raven, but we’ll see.”

Possible Landing Spots: Ravens, Colts

7. Jameel McClain


Breakdown: At 26, McClain is a young talent who likely will command a large salary (moreso than Jarret Johnson (see above)). It doesn’t sound like there’s a great chance for the Ravens to keep him.

Possible Landing Spots: Ravens, Colts, Eagles

8. Honorable Mentions

Unrestricted: Barrett Ruud, Chase Blackburn, Clark Haggans, Joey Porter, Andra Davis, Manny Lawson, Geno Hayes, Wesley Woodyard, Dan Connor

Restricted: Dannell Ellerbe, Aaron Maybin

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Posted on: February 24, 2012 5:26 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 5:27 pm
 

Ravens unlikely to chase RFA Mike Wallace

Don't expect Baltimore to pursue Wallace off the field. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Though the Steelers now look much more likely to retain wide receiver Mike Wallace, there's still a fear among Pittsburgh-area football fans that Wallace, a restricted free agent, could be lured away by another team. That team, according to GM Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh, won't be the Baltimore Ravens.

When asked about the Ravens going after potential restricted free agents, Newsome stressed the difficulty involved in doing so.

"The problem with going after a restricted free agent is that at that point, the player and the agent have all the leverage," Newsome said on Friday at the NFL combine. "Because you have to do a deal that you don't think the other team is going to match. And then giving up a first round pick -- with the new rules, that first-round pick, the amount of money you have to pay over the next four years, it's not like it was in the previous CBA.

"So you have to factor all of those things in before you decide to do it. There are some teams that have two [first-round picks] this year, but they'll be thinking about all those other ramifications."

Harbaugh was more blunt than Newsome, simply pointing out that pushing money towards a free-agent wide receiver simply isn't "smart" given the Ravens financial situation.

'I don’t see us spending high numbers on a wide receiver," Harbaugh said. "We just don’t have the cap room. It wouldn’t be smart."

And then there's this: the Ravens already have a deep-threat wide receiver. Asked about the need for one, with Torrey Smith on the roster, Newsome offered only good-natured, sarcastic-laced rhetorical questions.

"Did you watch us play this year? Do you think we need a deep threat?" Newsome said.

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Posted on: January 25, 2012 6:26 pm
Edited on: January 25, 2012 6:34 pm
 

Baltimore defense is a head-coaching pipeline

Almost everyone on Billick's sideline got a head-coaching job at one point. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Have you always dreamed of becoming a head coach in the NFL? Well, then you should find work with the Ravens defense, because doing so will all but guarantee you land a head-coaching job in the NFL.

Alright, it's a bit more difficult than that, but on Wednesday, Chuck Pagano became just the latest in a long line of former Ravens assistants to land gigs running NFL teams elsewhere.

The very first year the Ravens existed, 1996, the defense featured Marvin Lewis as defensive coordinator. Lewis, of course, is on his way to becoming one of the longer-tenured head coaches in the NFL and just took the Bengals to the playoffs. Lewis would leave Baltimore in 2001, coach the Redskins defense for a year and then take over the Bengals.

Working under Lewis up until 2001? Defensive assistant Jim Schwartz, who left to take the same position with the Titans, before being promoted to defensive coordinator and then taking over as head coach of the Detroit Lions in 2009.

(Notably, Eric Mangini -- 1996 as an offensive assistant -- and Ken Whisenhunt -- 1997-98 as a tight ends coach -- went on to land coaching gigs after working with the Ravens.)

In 1999, Brian Billick took over as head coach, and things really took off. He retained Lewis as defensive coordinator, but the team also hired Jack Del Rio (linebackers), Mike Smith and Rex Ryan as defensive assistants.

The Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2000. But it didn't pay off for the assistants until a year later, when Del Rio took the Jaguars job, where he stayed until being fired in 2011. Smith followed him there as defensive coordinator and would leave for the Falcons head coaching job in 2008, where he remains today.

In 2002, Mike Nolan, who'd been hired as the wide receivers coach previously, took over for the departed Lewis. Nolan, of course, went on to become the 49ers head coach in 2005. The man who replaced him? Mike Singletary, who took over as linebackers coach for the Ravens the same year Nolan became defensive coordinator.

Ryan replaced Nolan and eventually took the gig with the Jets. Greg Mattison took over for Ryan and after leaving for the University of Michigan (he took the same position under Brady Hoke), he was replaced by, you guessed it, Pagano.

Besides the Ravens, there's two other common threads with these guys: Ray Lewis, who's captained the defense since being drafted in the first round in 1996, and Ozzie Newsome, who took over as general manager that same year.

Read into it however you want; Newsome clearly has an eye for players and personnel, and Lewis clearly makes any defense better, regardless of how old he is.

But whoever takes over for the defense next should be thankful for the would-be springboard they're getting set up on.

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Posted on: August 3, 2011 1:50 am
 

Report: Umenyiora's price drops to 2nd round pick

UmenyioraPosted by Josh Katzowitz

When we first heard that Giants DE Osi Umenyiora was on the trading block, the rumor made sense. Umenyiora wants more money and more years on a contract that New York didn’t want to give to him. So, the Giants would trade him, get something in return and everybody would walk away happy.

Until we read the report from CBSSports.com’s Clark Judge about what the Giants apparently wanted. A first-round pick in return for the rights to Umenyiora, which, honestly, seems overpriced at best and ridiculous at worse.

One day later, the Giants have apparently dropped their price. According to the Baltimore Sun, the Giants are now sending out feelers that Umenyiora could be had for the low, low price of a second-round pick.

As we wrote about Tuesday, five teams appear interested in Umenyiora (including the Ravens, Rams, Chargers, Seahawks, and Broncos, while another report also had the Patriots interested as well), though none were intrigued enough to take New York’s original first-round bait.

The Ravens, though, might be interested in dealing a future second-rounder. The Sun reports that some within the Baltimore organization are urging GM Ozzie Newsome to make the deal, though he remains unsure of Umenyiora’s injury history and whether the team could actually afford him (remember, this whole thing started with the Giants because Umenyiora wants to get paid big-time money, and that won’t change if and when he’s dealt).

Apparently, some of this depends on DT Haloti Ngata, who would be one of Umenyiora’s mates on the defensive line if this deal comes to fruition. The newspaper writes that if the Ravens can agree to a new multi-year deal with Ngata, that would free up some salary cap room for the team and mean they could fit in Umenyiora. If not, though, the Ravens probably won’t make a play for him.

So, what will happen? We don’t know. Especially if the Giants haven’t dropped their first-round demand. As the New York Daily News writes, “I can only tell you what I think I know, and at this point it's that the Giants are holding strong on their demand of a first for Umenyiora. Things, though, tend to change fast.”

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Posted on: June 16, 2011 10:00 am
Edited on: June 16, 2011 10:46 am
 

Report: John Harbaugh didn't want Jimmy Smith?

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It wasn't a surprise when the Ravens eventually selected troubled cornerback Jimmy Smith in the April draft. Baltimore needed secondary help, and conventional wisdom suggested that the Ravens locker room, led by Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, would keep Smith in line.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has an impressive track record of drafting winners, dating back to 1996, when he took Jonathan Ogden and Lewis. So you're willing to give Newsome the benefit of the doubt on Smith, even if you couldn't see the former Colorado cornerback through all the raised red flags.

Turns out, according to a report from Baltimore Sports Report, Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn't want Smith.

In a recent radio appearance with Ken Weinman and Vinny Cerrato (yep, same guy) on 105.7 The Fan, Philly radio personality Howard Eskin says he believes that all the confusion surrounding the Ravens' 26th pick (which ultimately turned into the 27th pick) was because Harbaugh was uncomfortable taking Smith.

“You know those background checks they do,” Eskin asked. ”Man, it didn’t come up pretty (on Smith). …

“Smith had problems — he was struggling with the character issues, he really was,” Eskin said. “And once the Eagles got past their place in the draft, I think there was communication between John (Harbaugh) and the Eagles people to try to find out a little about this guy because they know that the Eagles did look at him and I think he had some real reservations with that.”

This is all speculation at this point. Eskin admits that he hasn't talked to Harbaugh, although he presumably heard something somewhere. Plus, it's not unreasonable to think that Harbaugh -- or anyone in the Ravens organization -- had reservations about Smith. Leading up to the draft, many experts said that Smith had top-10 talent but the dreaded "character concerns" dropped him off many teams' draft board. Twenty-six teams passed on him, after all.

As PFT's Mike Florio points out, it's only a matter of time before the Ravens issue a statement denying Eskin's report because they're already invested in Smith. Unless Harbaugh can get his hands on a time machine, Smith is now his problem. Might as well make the best of it.

UPDATE: Peter King, via Twitter, refutes Eskin's comments: "That story about John Harbaugh not wanting Jimmy Smith? Wrong. Totally wrong."

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Posted on: May 8, 2011 5:44 pm
 

Hot Routes 5.8.11: Tell your mom you love her



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • … And speaking of places where Kolb might play next season, the Arizona Republic discusses how the Cardinals’ patience while waiting to sign a starting quarterback might just pay off. And maybe not taking a quarterback in the NFL draft was actually the smart plan all along.
  • From the Miami Herald, here’s the latest on the Dolphins QB situation: “the chances of (Chad) Henne being the regular-season starter for Miami in 2011 are greater than the chances he is replaced.”
  • The NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora talked to some league insiders who rated the best performances of last week’s draft. The Buccaneers got high marks for Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers, and the Packers got positive press for a number of picks.

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Posted on: April 29, 2011 4:45 pm
 

What happened between the Bears and Ravens?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Kevin Byrne, the Ravens senior vice president of public and community relations, pens an extraordinary blog post about what happened Thursday night as Baltimore tried to accept the Bears offer to trade into the No. 26 spot – which ultimately failed and caused the Ravens to miss their pick entirely.

NFL Draft
NFL Draft Coverage More NFL Draft Coverage
Mock Drafts | Risers/Fallers
Prospects | Full Draft Coverage
Read the whole piece for some solid behind-the-scenes color, but here’s a small taste:

With just over four minutes remaining, the Bears called and made an offer. Oz told them "not good enough, we're ready to pick."  Chicago called back within a minute and agreed to Ozzie's suggestion. Almost instantly, Oz had (NFL player personnel expert Joel) Bussert on the line. "Joel, we just made a trade with the Bears. They're calling you now," Newsome said.

A minute later – now around the two- minute mark - Ozzie said: "Joel, I've got them on the other phone. They've agreed."


To the Bears: "Joel said you guys haven't confirmed the trade."


"Joel, they said they called. I don't know (who they called)."


To the Bears: "Joel says you guys haven't called. What's going on?"


"Joel, are you sure your phones are good? They said they called. Let's go."


And on and on it goes.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com