HOW LONG WILL THE RAVEN�S REIGN LAST?
The Ravens have the best Defense currently playing football, and a solid offense, but how long can they stay on top? My guess, not long. Here�s why:
$66 million already committed to the 2001 cap. That doesn�t even give them enough to sign their draft picks and the Raven�s UFA�s this off-season include:
OLB Jamie Sharper (He�s expected to demand a $3 million signing bonus on the open market.)
QB Trent Dilfer (Who knows what he�ll command now?)
C Jeff Mitchell (Expected to get a $4 mill. Signing bonus)
SS Kim Herring (Expected to get a $750k bonus � but could be more now)
Other UFA�s include Sam Gash, Priest Holmes, Ben Coates who is their 2nd string TE; their 3rd string TE, Frank Wainright, and three back-up LBs.
The Raven�s aren�t exactly young either.
Rod Woodson and RT Harry Swayne just finished their 14th seasons.
Tony Siragusa, DE Rob Burnett, and Shannon Sharpe just finished their 11th seasons. I have to that think after winning the big game, they�ve got to think about retiring. Even if they keep playing, a drop off in their playing level will come soon. I think it�s already begun for Swayne and possibly others. (ROD! OK � I might be bitter about that one.)
Throw in the possibility that D-coordinator, Marvin Lewis, could leave for a head-coaching job. Add in the fact that Modell always complaining about how poor he is and might be the cheapest owner in the league. Suddenly V.P. of player personnel, Ozzie Newsome, has his work cut out for him.