Monday, February 9, 2009

Teams in a Pickle

With the football season just ending, the offseason is pushing into full swing with the free agency period just around the corner. There are a few teams out there who could find themselves not improving in the offseason, but actually getting worse. Here are the top 3 teams in the worst position this offseason.

1. The Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens ended last year with the second best defense in the NFL. Only behind the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. However, this offseason is sure to not be pretty. 3 of the Ravens top defenders are set to be unrestricted free agents, Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Bart Scott. And the Ravens surely do not have the money to re-sign all of them, in fact, they will be lucky to secure a long term contract with one of them. The leader of the big 3 in Baltimore is none other than Ray Lewis. Lewis has been constantly touted by team-mates as not only the leader of the defense, but the vocal leader of the entire team. However, Lewis is getting old, setting to turn 34 in May. The Ravens must have some concern about how much longer he can play at such a high level. While on the other hand you have the 2 young and talented linebackers, Bart Scott and Terrell Suggs. Suggs has came out and said that he would take a pay-cut in order to keep their defense in tact, however Lewis said the opposite. Lewis is not in favor of a home town discount saying "I don't play less, so they shouldn't pay less". The Ravens have recently came out and said that they will pay whatever it takes to keep Lewis in Baltimore, so that could mean bye-bye for Suggs or Scott, or quite possibly both.

2. Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers are projected to be the 25th out of 32 teams as far as 2009 cap room. The problem with that is, they have 2 pro-bowl starters that need to be re-signed. One anchor on each side of the ball, Defensive End Julius Peppers, and Left Tackle Jordan Gross. The Panthers can only put the franchise tag on one of these great players, so one will be leaving with no return for the team unless they can soon reach a long term deal. Peppers has recently expressed his will to leave Carolina for a team that runs a 3/4 so that he can stand up and play Outside Linebacker. Given that, chances are the Panthers will tag Gross, who is considered possibly the best tackle in the NFL, pay him a huge salary and let Peppers walk out the door. If that scenario happens, that would make 2 talented defensive linemen free agents this year with both him and Albert Haynesworth most likely to be available.

3. The Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are just coming off one of the most successful seasons in the history of their franchise, losing in Super Bowl 43. But the question that now remains is will their success have any continuity? Well the Cardinals are set to have a number of key components of their Super Bowl team become Unrestricted Free Agents. To start off, their quarterback Kurt Warner is not only a Free Agent, but also considering retirement. On the offensive side of the ball they are also losing Running Back J.J. Arrington and blocking back Terrelle Smith. On the defensive side of the ball, the Cardinals may lose some real talent. The Unrestricted Free Agents on defense include Bertrand Berry, Antonio Smith, Karlos Dansby, and Clark Haggans. To top off all these people leaving, Pro-Bowl receiver Anquan Boldin has been very public in the past about wanting to leave Arizona even though he has one year left on his contract. 

This years off season should be a very entertaining one and keep checking in on my blog to stay posted. Also don't be scared to leave some comments if you have an opinion.

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