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Benjamin Watson Deal Official; Ravens Leave Several FAs Untendered

March 9, 2016


Day One of the NFL's free-agency frenzy wasn't typical for the Ravens, but it was par for the course for any other team.

When the new league year began 4 p.m. March 9, the team announced its two-year deal with tight end Benjamin Watson was official; the two-year, $8 million contract will make the 35-year-old the senior member of that position corps.

In a mild surprise, the ever-changing tight end corps got some depth with the announcement that Chase Ford was tendered as a restricted free agent. Ford was one of 20 Ravens who were placed on season-ending injured reserve last year.

The Ravens also officially lost two players who were anticipated to be heading out of Baltimore : guard Kelechi Osemele received a five-year deal to ostensibly play tackle for the Oakland Raiders, and backup quarterback Matt Schaub returned to the Atlanta Falcons to back up starter Matt Ryan.

Schaub was one of a record four starting quarterbacks to play for the Ravens last year. He completed 52-of-80 passes for three touchdowns, four interceptions -- two of which were run back for touchdowns -- and played to a 76 passer rating.

In order to save cap space, the team also did not tender some of their lower-level free agents, such as safety Brynden Trawick, defensive lineman Micajah Reynolds and wide receiver Marlon Brown. They are all allowed to hit the open market.

The lack of an offer to Brown is perhaps the least surprising move.

A 6-foot-5 undrafted Georgia product, Brown tied a Ravens rookie record with seven touchdown catches in 2013 before his production dropped to 24 receptions in 2014 and 14 receptions last year.

Brown's playing time dropped precipitously, as did that of nickel back Kyle Arrington, who reportedly accepted a pay cut to stay with the team as it attempted to free up salary cap room to make moves.

An undrafted free agent in 2013 from Troy University , Trawick led the Ravens in special teams tackles last year with nine solo stops. The Ravens' special teams unit was named the league's best in the annual Gosselin year-end Dallas Morning News survey.

Throughout the first day of free agency, the Ravens were linked to names such as Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Kelvin Beachum and Minnesota Vikings receiver Mike Wallace, but no deals were finalized.

Los Angeles Rams safety Rodney McLeod was also rumored to be heading to the Ravens, but he signed with the active Philadelphia Eagles.

Speaking of the Ravens' secondary, it was affected by moves made by other teams.

Several AFC North receivers who have bedeviled the Ravens in recent seasons signed elsewhere, with Cleveland Browns speedster Travis Benjamin heading to the San Diego Chargers, and a Cincinnati Bengals tandem, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu, respectively heading to the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons.

  Joe Platania has been covering professional football since 1994.