Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

07 Jun 2006

Titans Trade McNair to Ravens

And everybody wins: the Ravens get McNair, the Titans get a fourth-round pick and FO gets it right in PFP06. In lieu of flowers, Kyle Boller will be accepting donations to his retirement fund, which he may have to dip into much sooner than he thought a few months ago.

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 07 Jun 2006

63 comments, Last at 14 Jun 2006, 12:51am by Chris

Comments

1
by JG (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 4:03pm

Hey, first in!

Now seriously, did anyone not see this comming? The Ravens are still overpaying for McNair though. A 4th round pick plus 12 million or so for his first year? They're getting ripped off.

2
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 4:06pm

Keep hoping, rivetheads. Now, Boller will get something he has so far to date lacked: the opportunity to watch a genuine NFL quarterback play and react.

Whether or not it's too late for such fertilization was a chance the Ravens had to take. This team now has a clear shot at 10 or 11 wins. It really comes down to how well the lines jell as to how many wins there will be.

And might I add, I've been pushing the McNair line since the end of the season. Hope Kerry Collins likes country music.

3
by ZS (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 4:10pm

Grr. I sprinted here to get the #1 comment. I was about to comment on how a 4th Rounder was too low for someone like McNair until you pointed out the salary they have to pay.

Now here's where it gets sticky. Is Boller the Boller I think he is (busto!), or is he the Boller that we saw at the end of the season? Thus, the O/U for games started this season is 10. I think those games last season will give him the job for this season, buit McNair will sneak at least five starts in.

I mean, which one went to the Pro Bowl this year? Even if it was because everyone got injured.

4
by smashmouth football (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 4:12pm

I have one gripe--why didn't the Ravens wait out Tennessee? There's no way Tenn. could have signed any draft picks and still keep McNair. A 4th round pick is way too much to give up.

5
by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 4:12pm

RE 1

no NEVER saw this one coming. I felt like a mack truck just hit me when this news broke.

Smile it's wensday :-)

6
by ZS (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 4:17pm

#5:

Not to be rude, but where've you been? This has been rumored since at least Draft Day, probably farther back.

7
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 4:18pm

McNair's getting twelve million dollars this year? That's like, what, a million for each game he'll manage to play in this year?

And I don't see why the Titans would get Collins, unless they wanted to waste money. I'm a big Collins supporter but what is he going to show Vince Young, why would you want to pay money to shove Young to the third-string, and what is it exactly that people have against Billy Volek? Is it his very capable 60.3 completion percentage? His 6.8 yards an attempt? Maybe it's his 26-13 TD-INT ratio that just isn't good enough. I can understand drafting Young, but thinking that someone like Collins, not exactly known for mentoring, would be a better stopgap than Volek is foolhardy.

8
by PackMan (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 4:23pm

Dumb move by both teams. Tennesse had to let him go, but he would have been perfect to groom Young for the next 2 years. And Baltimore grossly overpaid. A 6th rounder would have been okay. The only reason I can think of is that they want him to have more time to learn the system before the season starts.

9
by MMM (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 4:24pm

#6 - time to get your sarcasmometer into the shop

10
by Mark (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 4:53pm

Howdy all.

I don't get this move by Baltimore. It seems an excessive price to pay, BOTH in terms of money ($11mil signing bonus!!!) and in terms of the draft pick (4th, maybe 3rd based on playing time?).

The only thing I can believe is that this confirms a steady decline in the Ravens' front-office scouting/evaluation process. I believe that they've done a mediocre job both in evaluating draft picks (overall) and in evaluating free agents choices. This last off-season offers abundant ammunition, especially the DT loss to Carolina and replacement by an inferior, older player at nearly the same price.

== Mark

11
by C (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 4:53pm

Any word on whether McNair and the Ravens have talked about re-working his contract? Because if they are paying $12Mil. for him, they got the short end of the stick.

12
by Pats on the Potomac (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 4:54pm

When did a fourth round pick become the Crown Jewels? The Ravens are taking on a huge contract, but a fourth-rounder for an established player is hardly a rip-off. And the Ravens didn't wait because 1) they want to get McNair into camp; 2) anyone could sign a free agent.

13
by Ben (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 5:05pm

Billy Volek = 2006 fantasy sleeper

Volek will get Drew Brees syndrome and become a good starter for the Titans for a few years. Whenever he gets hurt, he will go somewhere else and Young will get his opportunity to bust.

14
by Riceloft (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 5:07pm

I agree with #12.

A 4th rounder for a player who immediately improves the weakest spot on the team is not bad at all. If it wasn't obvious, I don't think Boller's flashes of competent play last season were signs of things to come.

15
by David Ferrier (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 5:07pm

Re: 12 million @ Basilicus:
"McNair’s getting twelve million dollars this year?"

According to the article that "trade fell through", and "The Titans' last offer was a $3 million signing bonus and a $2.5 million salary for 2006." I imagine McNair will be making closer to 5 million his first year, and about 3 million per year averaged out.

16
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 5:08pm

Mark,

As our Denver contingent can tell you, Trevor Pryce was a DE, not a DT. He replaces Anthony Weaver (how well, that's another matter).

Haloti Ngata was drafted to replace Keomeatu, another move I'm not sure about, but then, Ozzie has a pretty good record at any position other than QB and maybe WR (his free-agent WR pickups are better than his draftees).

You're the first to mention the 3rd option, but if McNair can start enough games to activate such a deal, he might be worth it.

17
by Ryguy (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 5:08pm

re 1 and 5, I'm shocked utterly utterly shocked. Yeah the sarcasm didn't work. But if everyone in the NFL knows this will eventually happen, is it really a surprise when it makes the news?

18
by Kevo (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 5:13pm

I'd think any 4th-rounder is worth more for the potential than McNair's got left in the tank.

And as for free agency: yes, anyone can get him, but they wouldn't be giving up 12 million and a 4th round pick to do it. The Ravens probably could have signed him as a free agent for much less than that.

19
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 5:21pm

According to the article that “trade fell through�, and “The Titans’ last offer was a $3 million signing bonus and a $2.5 million salary for 2006.� I imagine McNair will be making closer to 5 million his first year, and about 3 million per year averaged out.

The $12M/year offer is what McNair's playing under. That's what Baltimore offered. The part that fell through was the original trade to Baltimore - but the Baltimore contract wasn't tied to that.

McNair was under contract to the Titans for something like $9M, I think. I can see why he said "yeah, right" to half of that when he had an offer on the table for more than twice.

20
by Oldcat (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 5:58pm

One of Boller's 'Putting it Together' games (the first and best) came after falling behind 31-3 or some such to the mighty defense of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Any number of QBs can get good stats on the losing end of a laugher game.

He capped last season with an indifferent performance in a loss against Cleveland to lead his team to last place.

I'm willing to watch Kyle put it together for the Ravens for years to come. But then I'm a Bengals fan.

21
by Rick "32_Footsteps" Healey (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 5:59pm

Damn it... with Boller no longer starting, this throws my Loser League draft right out the window.

22
by jds (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 6:01pm

This has got to be a good deal for TEN. Although it confirms they are going nowhere this year, I think everyone knew that, so getting anything for McNair has to be good.

I also think this puts somebody on the hotseat in BALT. A pick and large cash means a coach or a GM must be on the line as saying this guy is absolutely the last piece missing - and if they don't win this year (maybe next, if they get close this year), the guy on the line will be looking for work at the end of the year. Like others above, I'm not sure McNair has enough left in the tank, but it sure makes this division alot more interesting.

23
by Mark (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 6:19pm

Re #12 & #14:

I wasn't perfectly clear in my earlier post about my misgivings about the deal. Let me correct that here & now in detail.

1. McNair's performance has declined since 2003. While that decline has not been steady according to NFL QB rating (73.1 in 2004, 82.4 in 2005), I seem to recall that FO stats show a more steady decline. In either event, graphing the trendline shows that McNair is unlikely to achieve anything close to his 2003 performance again.

2. Given his age, there is no logical reason to expect a decline to stop or reverse itself.

3. Given the above, McNair is NOT much if any improvement over Boller.

4. Even if he turns out to be a modest improvement over Boller, he's also 33 or so, and thus not likely to maintain good performance for more than this upcoming year.

5. Further, his injury history, combined with the very mediocre offensive line of Baltimore, leads to the logical supposition that McNair is likely to be injured again a substantial portion of this year (2006).

6. As others have mentioned, he would certainly have been released shortly and, while on the free market, would only be of interest to a very few teams without established and/or younger and promising QBs anyway. Thus Baltimore would have had an excellent chance to snare him, but without giving up a 4th/3rd round pick.

7. Finally, EVEN if we accept that they had to give up a draft choice, it seems sheer MADNESS to give an $11mil signing bonus to a man who's been injured and hasn't played a full year in the past 3 years! Especially when Tennessee was only willing to give him HALF of that (all this is from PFT). So EVEN if Baltimore really wanted him, it would seem likely that they could have gotten him for a much lower signing bonus, with rewards for games played etc.

The logic of all of the above seems to me to be almost inexorable in demonstrating that the Ravens (a) made a mistake overall in persuing this QB (consistent with their entire history of making QB mistakes -- Elvis Grbac, anyone?), and (b) overpaid for McNair EVEN if turns out to be a moderate success on the field.

==================

A related point: Given the Ravens recent history: yes, they drafted reasonably well before 2003, except in the vital categories of QB and WR. However, every free agent maneuver this year seems inexplicable to me. Chester Taylor is younger than Jamal Lewis and his stats last year were better. Kemoake was MUCH younger and proven: Pryce (who, even if he plays a different position -- mea culpa on that) is widely viewed as his "replacement" in terms of the cap hit) is MUCH older and in the process of breaking down. The errors seem numerous. The season will show all, of course, but I'd be interested in seeing feedback on the above. I haven't yet seen any sort of reasoned response that convinces me that the Ravens are hitting on all cylinders pro-personnel-wise this year.

== Mark

24
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 6:37pm

Chester Taylor's numbers were better than Lewis' only when Chester was being used in a thrid-down role; when Chester took a more prominent role in the offense, they dropped to a level at best equal to Lewis.

Add to that Chester's unexplained (at least publicly) absence from the team for two games last season, and the reasons the Ravens let him go to Minnesota are much more understandable. Plus, Lewis actually came cheaper, as his contract is more incentive-based.

Pryce and Ngata replace Weaver and Keomeatu (at least Carolina bothered to get his name right), with Jarrett Johnson also expected to take a larger role in the rotation. The Ravens have been the most rotated defensive fronts in the league for the last few years, so Pryce may have a longer productive time in Baltimore. Our Denver posters seem to disagree on how effective he was as time went on last season. As the Raven pass rush is also dependent on LB hybrids Dan Cody and Terrell Suggs, Pryce may be dealing with less traffic than he did in Denver as well. We'll see.

As far as wideouts, Ozzie drafted Travis Taylor (bust) and Mark Clayton (undecided) most prominently. 6th rounders such as Randy Hymes should hardly be held against him, and FA pickups Marcus Robinson and Derrick Mason work in his favor. So his ability to pick WR's is mixed at worst.

Since football isn't based on salary cap slots, it really does matter who plays where. This team just got a lot closer to Cincinnati than it is to Cleveland. And Cincy did win the division last year, so the playoffs are not a pipe dream by any stretch, although this window is going to stay open for a season or two at best.

I'd say the North is even tougher than the West now -- I'd rather be Cleveland than Oakland.

25
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 6:46pm

1. McNair’s performance has declined since 2003. While that decline has not been steady according to NFL QB rating (73.1 in 2004, 82.4 in 2005), I seem to recall that FO stats show a more steady decline.

McNair, 2003: 85.2 DPAR, 34.1% DVOA
McNair, 2004: -6.0 DPAR, -18.9% DVOA
McNair, 2005: 51.3 DPAR, 11.2% DVOA

So I think it's fair to say you're wrong, there.

In either event, graphing the trendline shows that McNair is unlikely to achieve anything close to his 2003 performance again.

Huh? Three points don't make a very convincing trendline. If I fit a straight line to them, it looks like it's trending downward somewhat (but not that much). If I fit a 2nd order polynomial to it, it looks like McNair will be the best QB in the NFL next year, because he was so much better in 2005 than in 2004.

26
by Harris (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 7:51pm

Why is Jeff Fisher rumored to be on the hot seat and not Floyd Reese? This team has been in salary cap hell for, what?, five years? How can they be in a position where they can't sign any rookies without dumping the most successful QB in team history? That's pathetic. Hey Titans, hire me. I can do an equally piss-poor job for far less money.

27
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 8:11pm

In response to the several people who say a fourth round pick is too much for McNair.

First off, I should say that I hate McNair and think he's been very overrated at many points in his career. However, put things in perspective. Please.

The Redskins traded Patrick Ramsey to the Jets for a sixth round pick. Isn't McNair two rounds better than Ramsey?

Or look at it another way. Linked is the 2000 NFL Draft. How many of those names do you recognize? Cooper Carlisle, certainly, and a handful of others. David Barrett, Brandon Short, Nail Diggs. Then there are the other two dozen.

The 2001 Draft produced slightly better results in the 4th round. Rudi Johnson, most obviously. Edgerton Hartwell and Ryan Diem are solid. And there are a few more there too.

But the fact is, most 4th round picks turn out to be guys like Monty Biesel, Correll Buckhalter, and Kareem Larrimore. Sorry. I'm taking McNair.

28
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 8:15pm

Just making it clear I was talking about the fourth round picks of the 2000 draft, not the entire draft. There's a preview function for a reason. Maybe I should use it more often.

29
by td (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 9:04pm

McNair's really only had one bad season, in 2004, when he was injured badly enough that there was a lot of speculation that he'd retire. Last year, as Pat pointed out, his numbers bounced back significantly. If he's healthy, you are getting a top ten qb for virtually nothing. Personally, I'd much rather roll the dice with McNair than, say, with Culpepper, who has at times been terrible at decision making and has mixed mediocre seasons in with his good ones. If he lasts two years, it will have been worth it.

30
by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 9:04pm

2. Given his age, there is no logical reason to expect a decline to stop or reverse itself.

Rich Gannon
Randall Cunningham

31
by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 9:19pm

Drew Bledsoe might also be a reasonable comparison, although not as injury-prone. Twice Bledsoe declined, went to a new team as an aging vet and had a good season with the new team.

32
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 10:47pm

#29:
No way McNair is a top ten QB, healthy or not.

McNair ranked 13th in passing DVOA last year, one place behind David Garrard. And that was about an average year for him.

33
by smashmouth football (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 11:32pm

Re: 27
I think your facts run counter to your argument.
But most importantly, why give anything at all to get McNair? Tennessee HAS TO release him, and nobody else is offering anything near the $$ the Ravens are. If the Ravens had made this deal before the draft, I could have understood the logic. But now that most of the offseason is already over, and the benefit gained by bringing McNair in to learn the system has already been forgone, it stuns me that the Ravens basically capitulated to Floyd Reese's ridiculous demand. I find myself largely in agreement with poster #10. The Ravens front office is showing signs of serious decline.

34
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 11:40pm

I think being reunited w/ Derrick Mason will certainly benefit Air McNair this year, while the Raven's O-line is suspect they certainly have more weapons at WR and TE than Tenn, they just never had anybody who could throw them the ball.
I love when people point out that the Ravens personel moves have been horrible ever since Savage left for Cleveland. God forbid a black GM could ever make a good move, and if he did it was all because of his white assistant.

35
by smashmouth football (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 12:25am

Re: 34
"I love when people point out that the Ravens personel moves have been horrible ever since Savage left for Cleveland. God forbid a black GM could ever make a good move, and if he did it was all because of his white assistant."
I think you're making an inference that's unsupported by the facts. Among the Ravens personnel moves criticized are the QB and WR moves dating back at least the last 6 years. Savage left for Cleveland within the last 2 years.

36
by l. smith (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 12:31am

Personally, I do not care for the Ravens, at all. I think they paid too much for McNair but I would rather have him than Boller.

37
by karl (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 6:35am

How is everyone bashing Baltimore in this deal? This is Steve McNair we're talking about. Co-MVP, top 5 qb when healthy Steve McNair. It's an $11 million signing bonus and $1 million salary. That's cheap for a proven, star QB. It's less than what Tennessee will be paying Vince Young to sit on the bench. A fourth round draft pick? To address your largest hole, with the BPA, at the most important position on the field? Baltimore came away with a GREAT deal, if you ask me.

38
by karl (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 6:42am

Re 23:

How much does his decline have to do with the fact that Tennessee has a garbage offensive line and a garbage WR corp? or with the fact that Tennessee has admittedly been purging talent due to salary cap issues for the two or three offseasons before this?

39
by Kuato (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 8:44am

OK, so now Balt will win 8 games instead of 6.

Peace
Kuato

40
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 11:16am

No way McNair is a top ten QB, healthy or not.

DPAR disagrees, as he was ranked 9th last year.

McNair ranked 13th in passing DVOA last year, one place behind David Garrard. And that was about an average year for him.

Garrard only played half a year - DVOA can be quite high for players who don't attempt many passes, since they either are in a very good situation, and cherrypick their attempts (Roethlisberger) or simply didn't play in enough games for the statistics to average out (Garrard).

13th in DVOA, 9th in DPAR is a borderline top 10 performance. Given that it was with the Titans (the Titans!) who went 4-12 last year, a borderline top 10 performance by a QB is really, really good.

41
by DWS (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 12:02pm

Everybody relax!

First, the Ravens are flat out desperate, with both the GM and coach on the hot seat, at least to a certain degree!

Second, McNair may indeed play better in a new situation, with Derrick Mason, and a decent, if slightly overrated, defense. Why not give him a chance to prove himself.

Third, the new salary cap will absorb his one year cap hit, and free agency is already over. Remember, the Ravens are desperate...

Let's give McNair a chance, and then rip the Ravens if it doesn't work out.

I think Ozzie Newsome is great at evaluating defensive players, and I would like to know how much influence Billick has on the WR and QB picks. Also, I would like to know how good the WRs might be if the QBs weren't awful.
Maybe the GM is not responsible for all the mistakes.

Can they still get Trent Dilfer?

42
by Mark (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 12:53pm

FWIW, apparently a number of NFL folks are of the same opinion as those of us who think the deal for McNair was a Really Bad Move for Baltimore. Here's what PFT says:

===========================

McNAIR DEAL CRITICIZED

Multiple league insiders are questioning the wisdom of the decision of the Ravens to ship to Tennessee a fourth-round pick for a quarterback no one else wanted.

Said one source from a team that has been in the market for a quarterback within the past year, "We wouldn't touch [McNair]." The source said that McNair is regarded as "fragile" and that it was "unbelievable" that the Ravens gave up what they did for him.

Based on reports that the Ravens will give McNair $11 million to sign as part of deal that will extend his contract beyond 2006, another source said that "they have lost their minds."

The other issue here is the timing of the move. With only six weeks or so to go until the Titans would be required to cut McNair and his $9 million salary in order to sign draft picks like Vince Young and LenDale White, it was only a matter of time before McNair hit the open market.

Then again, getting McNair into camp late gives coach Brian Billick ammunition to argue that he should get yet another year to prove that he can turn the Ravens into an offensive juggernaut, if Baltimore can't nudge past Cincinnati and Pittsburgh in a talent-crowded AFC North in 2006. The delayed move also sets the stage for potential acrimony between Billick and G.M. Ozzie Newsome, who curiously has escaped criticism for some questionable free agency and draft moves over the past several seasons. The pissing away of a first-round draft pick on Kyle Boller, for example, routinely is perceived a knock on Billick, not on Newsome.

So if the Ravens can't fly past the Bengals or Steelers this year, we wouldn't be surprised to hear that Billick privately is grousing that the front office made it too hard from him to get his offense together by waiting until June 7 to send a fourth-round pick to Tennessee, when perhaps the same deal (or something close to it) could have been worked out weeks earlier.

Still, even if Billick had four full months to work with McNair before the launch of training camp, we have a feeling that the arrival of the 2003 NFL co-MVP wouldn't make the team much better. Last time we checked, the Ravens needed a lot of help along the offensive line. With an aging, brittle, decreasingly mobile quarterback now parked behind the unit, we think that Boller could be back under center by October.

Not because McNair will be benched, but because he'll be broken.

==========================

Cordially to all,
Mark

43
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 1:16pm

Since 2001:
McNair has missed 13 games, most because of injury, but at least 1 is because he sat out the last game in 2003.

McNabb has missed 14 games in that same time (again same thing-1 is because he sat out the last game of the 2004 season). Guess who is called more fragile....

Everyone does realize that Billy Volek is 30 right. And has inflated stats in 2004 due to a 4 game stretch where Fisher realized his team was going to be completely outmatched and the defense pretty much unable to keep the team in games that he put in a run-and-shoot type offense.

44
by Jero WI (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 1:43pm

Is the McNair contract front loaded as is the Woodson cantract in GB? If they have the cap room this season with no intention of signing any more pricy free agents, then...

45
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 1:43pm

And McNabb's not even really that atypical, either. Roethlisberger's been the #1 QB for 30 regular season games. He missed 4, and didn't play in the last regular-season game (as the others). That's an injury rate of about 13%.

McNabb, over his career, has an injury rate of 13/96 games, an injury rate of about... 13%.

Pure pocket passers like Bledsoe, Manning, etc. have a lower injury rate, but McNair's never seemed to be out of the ordinary. His main problem was that he got injured two seasons in a row.

46
by wr (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 2:00pm

ESPN is now reporting that McNair passed his physical, so the deal's official now.

47
by ToxikFetus (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 2:18pm

Quote of the day from Dr. Z: "Well, the Ravens now must choose between a quarterback who can't play and one who can't walk." Priceless.

48
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 3:19pm

Re 26: "How can they be in a position where they can’t sign any rookies without dumping the most successful QB in team history?"

I agree that Reese is much more of a problem than Fisher and that this has gone largely unnoticed, but Warren Moon might have something to say about McNair being the most successful QB in team history.

Re 29: "If he’s healthy, you are getting a top ten qb for virtually nothing...I’d much rather roll the dice with McNair than...with Culpepper...If he lasts two years, it will have been worth it."

If he's healthy, you get a borderline top 10 QB, which is still worth it...if he's healthy, which is a big if. With the pounding he's taken and the time he's missed the last three years, he could be refreshed and ready to go or he could have just a few more games really left in him. I'd still rather have him than Fumblepepper, though. At least McNair has the presence of mind to hold onto the ball inside the opponent's ten. And I don't think it will be worth it if McNair can last two years because the Ravens won't really be situated to contend for another two years and then they'll be looking for a QB to replace McNair. They're eating half a slice of delicious cake now, and half a slice of delicious cake maybe in two years, and then they'll wonder where in hell their slice of delicious cake went. Mmm...delicious cake....

Re 33: "But most importantly, why give anything at all to get McNair? Tennessee HAS TO release him, and nobody else is offering anything near the $$ the Ravens are."

A) To get him in earlier so he can learn the system (given Billick's history with QBs, maybe learning the system is a mistake), and more importantly B) the waiting had built to a head and it was the prime time to capitalize on pulling a trade, which makes more news than a late free agent signing, and thusly sells more tickets. Pulling this a few weeks later, the waiting would have gotten tiresome and it wouldn't have been in as good a position to build a media frenzy around it.

49
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 4:18pm

If he’s healthy, you get a borderline top 10 QB, which is still worth it…if he’s healthy, which is a big if. With the pounding he’s taken and the time he’s missed the last three years, he could be refreshed and ready to go or he could have just a few more games really left in him.

The question isn't whether or not he is healthy. He had a great year last year. He was clearly still capable of playing, and the pectoral strain from last year is not exactly a big deal.

The question is whether or not he can stay healthy.

If the numbers I saw are right, it's a signing bonus of $11M, and salary numbers probably something like $1M, $3M, $5M ($20M over the first 3 years), which means you've got cap numbers of $3.2M, $5.2M, $7.2M for three years.

That's pretty good for the first two, and after the third year, he could be released with only an "ouch", not an "oh god, stop the pain."

50
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 6:15pm

"Damn it… with Boller no longer starting, this throws my Loser League draft right out the window."

Draft Orton, and wait for the inevitable Grossman injury during training camp.

51
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 7:44pm

Hey, man, Grossman's a lot more durable than that. I don't know where he got this wrap for always getting injured. He's played in 8 games for Chicago in the past three years, and that's not even including the playoffs. In 2004, he didn't get injured until Game 3, making it through all of training camp and preseason, as well as the preceding off-season. That's even longer than the normal football season lasts, and he made it through all of it, so lay off - Grossman is an iron stud of durability, and he'll show all of you that he's the sturdiest Bears QB since Jim 'Hangnail' McMahon.

52
by Malene, cph (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 8:50pm

Best thing about this trade is it has made Mike Reiss re-tell the how the Ravens acquired Boller... I'd actually sort of forgotten that already...

Since Boller was picked with the Patriots 1st rd pick, - traded for a second and a 2004 first, the Patriots essentially traded Boller to the Ravens for Eugene Wilson and Vince Wilfork. mmm... donuts...

53
by Deke (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 9:05pm

Mike Wilbon said it and I couldn't agree more:
This is the biggest move of the offseason, period - even bigger than Dallas landing TO.

McNair with full complement of weapons on offense (J.Lew/M.Anderson/Mason/Clayton/Heap) + always stellar Raven D = Playoff mortal lock.

54
by DWS (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 9:51pm

Does anyone actually know the truth about whether all the offensive drafting is done by Ozzie, in a complete seperation of power, or if Billick is the one recommending the bad QB and WR picks? I think this is a major issue, if people want to point to Ozzie as a problem. Can we say for sure that these bad picks are the GM? I just have trouble believing that Billick is not approving and supporting the offensive draft picks long before they are made.
Does anyone actually know what is going on with the decisions on offensive draft picks? How involved is Billick?

55
by Nathan (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 10:20pm

You have the cap room. Your Quarterback is Kyle Freakin Boller.

End of Discussion.

56
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 10:51pm

I don't know much about the Ravens cap situation, but I do remember the Caponomics series refering to them as a team operating a boom-or-bust approach to cap management. Is it conceivable that they expect to have to blow up the team within the next couple of years anyway, a la Tennessee, and think it will be so bad that an extra few million in dead money then can't make too much difference, so they might as well try for an outside (very outside) shot at some sort of title while Lewis might still be able to play?

57
by smashmouth football (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 11:19pm

Re: 56
Bingo! A Ravens front office honcho, Dick Cass I believe, was quoted several weeks ago in the Baltimore Sun to the effect that the Ravens have a two-year window and then cap hell arrives (again).

58
by Kuato (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 11:36pm

"McNair with full complement of weapons on offense (J.Lew/M.Anderson/Mason/Clayton/Heap) + always stellar Raven D = Playoff mortal lock."

Unfourtunatly, Mason is Old, J. Lew was awful last year (granted he could make a comeback), and the Defense is only stellally overrated. I don`t see Balt into the playoffs next year with all the other good teams in the AFC.

59
by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Fri, 06/09/2006 - 7:31am

Re Kuato, As I recall the AFC North ran pretty hot and cold last year with Kyle "Freaking" Boller (DPAR rank 27) winning one off the Steelers, and Anthony Wright (DPAR rank 33) nearly winning one to set up a sweep of the Steelers. Overrated D or not, Steve McNair (DPAR rank 9), even on the bench whispering the deep secrets of unlocking All-Madden Pocket Pressence, is probably enough to at least play the spoiler in that Division. McNair playing? Oh, HELL YES, that makes them immediately competive. On top of that, target wise, Heap is a little bit of an upgrade over Kinney. Even before the QB swap.

Clearly the Ravens want to win now. To that end: The extra time in training with the team, improving the odds of winning early (which the Ravens desperately need to do to advance) vs the win later proposition of next years 4th round pick. Yeah, no brainer. Sure they *might* fail in their pursuit of a playoff bid in 2006, like 31 other teams. But if they half assed that endeavor when oh 28 or so of those teams won't I can't see that improving the odds of their gamble.

60
by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 06/09/2006 - 11:17am

I don't think the Ravens' defense is overrated. I think Ray Lewis's skills have declined faster than his reputation has, and he is therefore overrated. But the Ravens have added a lot of good young players, and the defense, while not as good as it was when Baltimore won the Super Bowl, is still plenty good.

61
by Luz (not verified) :: Fri, 06/09/2006 - 1:30pm

Re: Insancipitory

I don't disagree with your "almost" win on monday night but as a steelers fan i fully protest to you counting any game started by tommy maddox against the steelers. as i recall in that game ward and wilson were open deep multiple times but thanks to "touchdown" tommy maddox the ball didn't quite make it there in time.

62
by OMO (not verified) :: Sun, 06/11/2006 - 1:53pm

Put me down for "Sprains his vagina" during the 1st quarter of pre-season game two in the Dick Enberg "What a Warrior" injury pool.

If "Stephanie" McNair starts 10 games for the Ravens this year I will eay my shorts.

63
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 12:51am

#62 -- I spit my drink on my monitor when I read that. That's hilarious.