Ravens won't sacrifice future for chance to repeat
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — The last time the Baltimore Ravens won a Super Bowl, they mounted an all-out charge to pull off an encore.
That won't happen again.
"You have to make sure that the excitement of the day doesn't cloud what we promised to build, and that was a consistent winner," Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said Thursday. "I'm just proud for Baltimore, and there is a great pressure off of us."
Although the Ravens have placed a high priority on signing quarterback Joe Flacco to a long-term deal, the team has no intention of overpaying potential free agents or having several players restructure their contracts in order to keep the current roster intact.
That's what happened 12 years ago, when general manager Ozzie Newsome sacrificed the future to mount another run at a championship. The Ravens backed up their 34-7 Super Bowl win over the New York Giants by returning to the playoffs, but they didn't get back to the Super Bowl.
And then, after the season, they suffered the salary-cap blues.
"We're not going to get caught up in the moment and do things to our salary cap and make decisions in the euphoria of winning that could hurt us in 2014 and 2015, like we did in 2001," Bisciotti said. "Every single veteran (in 2001) was restructured so that, I think, every single veteran could stay, then we ended up losing so many people the next year. We don't want to do that."
Newsome feels the same way.
"We will not repeat what we did in 2001," he said. "We're trying to build where we can win Super Bowls more than just one more time. I think our team is structured differently this time, also. We do have some veterans that will probably be retiring (linebacker Ray Lewis and possibly center Matt Birk) but we have a great nucleus of young players and players that are just heading into their prime that we're going to build this team around.
"We're not going to be restricting contracts, do all of those different things just to be able to maintain this team just to make another run. We're not doing that. But that doesn't mean that we don't want to try and go and repeat."
The first step in that process is getting Flacco on board. The Super Bowl MVP's contract expired after Baltimore's season-ending 34-31 win over San Francisco last Sunday.
"I'm coming away today thinking that we can get a deal done," Newsome said, noting that in similar situations the team signed Haloti Ngata, Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice, Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs.
"I've got a very good owner who understands the business, who understands the importance of certain positions," Newsome said. "So I'm optimistic."
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