Patience is the name of the game. Ozzie and the Ravens brass are the masters at letting the free agent market come to them. They don’t seem too eager, and they aren’t going to over pay for anyone as they reload players with long term success in mind. Today, the right player for the right price is Michael Huff. The safety is a seven year veteran and 7th overall pick in the 2006 draft by the Oakland Raiders.
Michael Huff will sign a three year deal worth $6 million for the Ravens. Everyone was spot on pointing out that Huff will be a Raven for three years for the same price Houston employs Ed Reed just for 2013.
Gaudy statistics is something you won’t find from Huff. Some guys don’t rack up INT’s because opposing teams prefer not to throw in their directions. But I’ve said it before. Durability is important and often underrated. In his seven seasons, Huff has played in all but four games. All four games he missed were in 2011 when we went out with a wrist injury. Versatility is another one of Huff’s pluses as he can play cornerback and both safety positions. Another option at corner if Lardarius Webb has any sort of setback coming off injury, or if Jimmy Smith doesn’t perform up to par. Lining him up as the free safety opposite James Ihedigbo is the likely plan for Huff to start.
So the one knock on Ed Reed’s game, who Huff will replace, is that he doesn’t tackle anymore. What does Huff bring to the table in that department? According to Pro Football Focus, Huff missed just 18 tackles in the last three seasons. Ed Reed missed 16 in 2012 alone. Not to say that Huff is an elite talent like Ed Reed. But he is solid, reliable, and from things I’m reading it’s a great deal the Ravens got.
The fact that Huff can play the cornerback position tells me that he is great in coverage. Huff probably won’t be a centerfield type of safety like Reed is. He’ll be hanging around providing coverage help on tight ends and slot guys. Having someone like him around will again make life easier for a rookie inside linebacker, should Baltimore look that direction in the draft. It seems like the addition of Spears and Canty on the line, Dumervil and Suggs setting the edges, and Huff behind them, that Ozzie is trying to set up a situation where a young ILB can have great success. Or maybe set up a situation where some rookie mistakes won’t be as exploited because there is plenty of talent around to back him up.
Michael Huff earned the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back during his senior season at Texas in 2005 and an NFL All-Pro in 2010.
So where do the Ravens stand on the cap. If the first year of the contract cost $2 million against the cap, the Ravens will have roughly $5.8 million left in cap space, and about $4 million left after the draft. Are there any more free agent targets on the Ravens radar, or will they fill out the other holes on draft day?
A final thought. Michael Huff, Elvis Dumervil, Marcus Spears and Chris Canty will cost about $7.2 million against the 2013 salary cap. Anquan Boldin would have cost $7.5 millilon alone. Paul Kruger will cost $8.1 million against Clevelands cap. Danell Ellerbe would have been $2.4 million, but jumps up to $7.4 million next year for Miami. Don’t question Ozzie Newsome, because you will lose.