Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome learned an important lesson after Super Bowl XXXV when he mortgaged the future to keep high-paid veterans on the roster. He doesn't intend to make the same mistake twice. In fact, Newsome plans to instigate a youth movement in Baltimore.
What does this mean for the 2013 Ravens? Here are the highlights from Newsome's press conference Thursday:» The first item of business remains quarterback Joe Flacco's contract. With both sides shooting for a fair deal, Newsome is optimistic that an agreement can be reached to stave off the salary cap draining, exclusive rights franchise tag. At this point, however, there is very little common ground in negotiations. The sides remain "far apart." Owner Steve Bisciotti reiterated that Flacco was offered a "top-five" quarterback contract last summer. » Contract restructuring is a last resort to be used only with players that have great value or are good bets to remain productive through the end of the deal. Two candidates for extensions are wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones, as the Ravens would save money against this year's salary cap. » While the offense should remain essentially intact with the possible exception of free-agent left tackle Bryant McKinnie, the defense is in for a major overhaul. Newsome cited the middle of the defense as the area that require the most resources. Ray Lewis is retiring. Pro Bowl free safety Ed Reed's Baltimore future is up in the air with free agency beckoning. The Ravens are reportedly hoping to work out a long-term deal that will keep emerging inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe from hitting the market. The chances of re-signing star pass rusher Paul Kruger and cornerback Cary Williams, on the other hand, appear to be remote. Newsome has drafted Courtney Upshaw and Jimmy Smith as eventual starters at those positions. » The Ravens expect dominant nose tackle Haloti Ngata to be recovered from his Super Bowl knee injury in time for the offseason program. » Bisciotti is confident that future Hall of Famer Lewis will have a statue outside M&T Bank Stadium "in the next year or two."
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