New Raven Owen Daniels Will Have Spotlight On Him

Posted on April 04, 2014 by Joe Platania

It won't be long before the annual "Top 100 Players" list will be revealed on NFL Network.

The show features interviews with many players around the league as they critique some of their teammates and adversaries. A constant presence on that program during recent years has been none other than the Ravens' newest tight end, Owen Daniels.

Daniels, who passed his physical April 4 and officially signed his one-year deal with Baltimore after playing eight seasons with the Houston Texans, usually dresses more like a businessman on the show, projecting a demeanor that belies the fact that he is a professional athlete.

Ravens 2014: Owen Daniels (press conference)

Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox

With plenty of television experience under his belt as a certified meteorologist and weatherman in the Houston area, the telegenic Daniels seems to be more than comfortable in the spotlight.

With the Ravens still trying to find the right ingredients to make their offense not only among the league's best, but also a consistent force in contributing to another title run, Daniels faces scrutiny to perform, and help rejuvenate the team's crippled tight end corps.

During his first media session with Baltimore reporters, Daniels let it be known that he is welcoming the challenge, especially after missing most of last season because of injury.

"I've been out, so I'm excited to get back out there and remind people of what I did before," Daniels said. "I just want to help this team win games."

Daniels and his Texans teammates went from a team that made it to the Divisional Round of the playoffs in 2012 to a 2-14 record in 2013.

"From Week Three (when Houston lost to the Ravens) on, it was a disastrous situation," Daniels said. "We thought we were a playoff team, ready to take the next step."

Daniels will be counted on to teach his new teammates the West Coast system of first-year Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, who was formerly Daniels' head coach in Houston.

"I embraced that role in Houston," Daniels said. "I like to help my teammates. I hope I have a pretty good grasp on this offense after eight years."

Even though Daniels seemingly has a chip on his shoulder after the Texans released him, a former teammate who is also a current one said Daniels' personality wouln't permit anger or bitterness to get in his way.

"He's an all-around awesome guy, on and off the field," said new Ravens running back Justin Forsett, who was a teammate of Daniels' in 2012. "He'll give you the shirt off his back. He's a strong leader and a very productive player."

For his career, Daniels has 385 catches and 29 touchdowns; he is second in Texans franchise history in both categories to standout wide receiver Andre Johnson. He shares Dennis Pitta's pass-catching aplomb and will also be counted on to block more than Pitta, the Ravens' current starter.

"He's a good blocker," head coach John Harbaugh said of Daniels. "He understands the schemes. We have two of the best tight ends in the NFL, and they fit the offense very, very well."

By most accounts, the Ravens' biggest needs before the May 8-10 draft still lie along the offensive line and in the safety corps. The team could also use another pass-rushing linebacker.

The Ravens might select a running back on the draft's third day (May 10, Rounds 4-7), even after signing six-year NFL veteran Forsett to a one-year contract April 4.

Ravens 2014: Justin Forsett (press conference)

Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox

Baltimore will be the fifth stop during the career of the 5-foot-8, 194-pound Forsett, who is built similarly to current incumbent Ray Rice. Forsett previously played in Seattle -- the team that drafted him during the seventh round in 2008 -- as well as in Indianapolis, Houston and Jacksonville.

While Forsett doesn't have Rice's bulk, he does have more speed, a trait he showed in 2012, when he played for Kubiak in Houston. Forsett gained a career-high 5.9 yards per carry in limited duty behind starter Arian Foster and change-of-pace back Ben Tate, who is now with the Cleveland Browns.

"I know Gary Kubiak is a winner," Forsett said. "I had a ton of success in Houston with him. … I'm familiar with all the concepts [of the West Coast offense].

"I have a chip on my shoulder the size of Texas. … I'm at a point in my career where I want to win and win now."

Forsett, who played for the University of California, spent part of the 2013 season on injured reserve (broken foot).

The Ravens' running back situation is in a great deal of flux, what with Bernard Pierce recovering from offseason surgery and Rice dealing with off-field legal troubles.

Former Cincinnati Bengals running back Bernard Scott is a Ravens free agent whom the club has apparently made little to no effort to re-sign.

***

Here is the current status of player movement around the AFC North Division. All free agents are unrestricted unless otherwise noted.

An explanation of how our chart works appears at the end of this article.

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Free agents lost: SS James Ihedigbo (Detroit), T Michael Oher (Tennessee), LB Jameel McClain (New York Giants), CB Corey Graham (Buffalo), DE Arthur Jones (Indianapolis), WR Tandon Doss (Jacksonville)

Free agents signed: RB Justin Forsett (Jacksonville), TE Owen Daniels (Houston), C Jeremy Zuttah (Tampa Bay, via trade), S Darian Stewart (St. Louis), WR Steve Smith (Carolina)

Re-signed: LB Daryl Smith, S Jeromy Miles, WR/RS Jacoby Jones, T Eugene Monroe, TE Dennis Pitta, LB Albert McClellan, S Omar Brown (exclusive rights, tendered), LB D.J. Bryant (exclusive rights, tendered), LB Josh Bynes (exclusive rights, tendered), LB Adrian Hamilton (exclusive rights, tendered), S Anthony Levine (exclusive rights, tendered), S Brynden Trawick (exclusive rights)

Status unresolved: FB Vonta Leach, TE Dallas Clark, NT Terrence Cody, TE Ed Dickson, RB Bernard Scott

Retired: WR Brandon Stokley

***

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Free agents lost: S Brandon Ghee (San Diego), WR Andrew Hawkins (Cleveland), T Anthony Collins (Tampa Bay), DE Michael Johnson (Tampa Bay)

Free agents signed: S Danieal Manning (Houston), CB R.J. Stanford (Miami), T Marshall Newhouse (Green Bay), QB Jason Campbell (Cleveland), DE Dontay Moch (Arizona)

Re-signed: S Taylor Mays, WR/RS Brandon Tate, G Mike Pollak, LB Vincent Rey (restricted), WR Dane Sanzenbacher (restricted, tendered)

Status unresolved: LB James Harrison, C Kyle Cook, LB Michael Boley, CB Chris Crocker, P Zoltan Mesko, T Dennis Roland, TE Alex Smith

Retired: QB Greg McElroy

***

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Free agents lost: S Ryan Clark (Washington), WR Jerricho Cotchery (Carolina), WR Emmanuel Sanders (Denver), LB LaMarr Woodley (Oakland), DT Ziggy Hood (Jacksonville), RB Jonathan Dwyer (Arizona), DT Al Woods (Tennessee), TE/FB David Johnson (San Diego), C Eric Olsen (Tennessee)

Free agents signed: S Brice McCain (Houston), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (Indianapolis), RB LeGarrette Blount (New England), LB Arthur Moats (Buffalo), WR Lance Moore (New Orleans), NT Cam Thomas (San Diego), S Mike Mitchell (Carolina)

Re-signed: TE Michael Palmer, T Guy Whimper, S Will Allen, C Cody Wallace, C/LS Greg Warren, LB Jason Worilds (transition tag)

Status unresolved: LB Larry Foote, T Levi Brown, CB Curtis Brown, WR Plaxico Burress, T Rashad Butler, RB Felix Jones, DE Brett Keisel, P Mat McBriar, RB La'Rod Stephens-Howling, LB Stevenson Sylvester, C Fernando Velasco, LB Jamaal Westerman

Retired: None

***

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Free agents lost: QB Jason Campbell (Cincinnati), T Oniel Cousins (Tampa Bay), QB Brandon Weeden (Dallas), G Shawn Lauvao (Washington), S T.J. Ward (Denver), LB D'Qwell Jackson (Indianapolis)

Free agents signed: G Paul McQuistan (Seattle), RB Ben Tate (Houston), WR Andrew Hawkins (Cincinnati), CB Isaiah Trufant (New York Jets), S Donte Whitner (San Francisco), LB Karlos Dansby (Arizona), TE Jim Dray (Arizona)

Re-signed: K Billy Cundiff, LB Craig Robertson (exclusive rights, tendered)

Status unresolved: WR Davone Bess, C Alex Mack (transition tag), RB Willis McGahee, WR Brian Tyms

Retired: None

***

The PressBox AFC North division player movement list is derived from Rotoworld.com's look at players whose contracts will expire when the league signing period begins March 11. 

The teams' lists of unrestricted and restricted free agents are thought to be complete, but other roster moves involving lesser-known exclusive rights free agents may not be reflected here. As transactions involving such players become known, they will be included.

Also, players that are released and become street free agents -- the so-called "salary-cap dumps" -- will be added to the lists as needed under the "status unresolved" heading.

Restricted and exclusive rights free agents will be listed as having "re-signed" after receiving tender offers from their clubs, even though those tenders may not have been signed. A tender offer usually means a team is intent on keeping that player on its roster, although it is sometimes used to gauge interest from other clubs.

Draft picks, on most occasions, are commensurate with where the free agent in question was originally selected, and what a team can expect in return if it loses a restricted free agent.

Or, a team can perform an NBA-style sign-and-trade transaction, putting the restricted free agent's name on a new contract and sending him to another club.

All tendered restricted and exclusive rights free agents will be indicated as such. If any player departs for another team, his name will be moved from the "re-signed" classification to the "free agents lost" category.

The deadline for offer sheets to be extended to restricted free agents on other teams is May 2. The player's old club then has seven days to match the offer, or the offering club immediately assumes his rights.

Players will sometimes change teams because they were placed on waivers and signed by other teams. Those moves are also reflected here, because any unattached player with NFL experience is, technically, a free agent. Several transactions of that type took place before the league year and free-agent signing period began.

Players lost or acquired via trades will also be noted as such.

This chart will appear on the Ravens Report blog throughout the offseason with updated information.

Joe Platania is in his 20th year covering professional football.

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