Remember that LG Edwin Mulitalo will be looking for a new contract next season. I'm sure that the Ravens will lace his pockets, but if his asking price gets too high Spears can take over for him and we wouldn't lose a beat.
Also in 2003 we'll have a better cap situation which would allow us to upgrade even more at OT cause we'll have the bucks to go out and get a the best available.
But I've got a feeling that Spears will do just fine at RT barring injury of course. Having spent a large amount of time as a back up has its good points and it's bad points.
Spears was drafted in the 2nd round by the Bears but wound up buried on the depth chart behind two starters (OT's Heck & Williams) entrenched in their spots for his first few years in the league.
Then he moved on to Kansas City where he remained a back up, but here's where the correlation ends. From what I can gather Spears played for the Bears when they wanted a smash-mouth run-blocking OT then went to the Chiefs when they required a more athletic lead-block, pull-&-trap kind of OT.
Spears is big enough to handle bull-rushing defensive tackles but also quick enough to pull and lead-block against linebackers, corners and safeties lending to his versatility and athletic ability.
Spears has quick feet and agility, can backpedal and set his feet for pass-protection and get out in the open field on screens making him an effective blocker on the 2nd level.
Spears seems to me like a victim of the system who finally was given his chance and made the most of it.
Being buried on the depth chart is never a good thing, and having that happen over a period of time that doesn't allow you to develop or be given a fair shot sucks on so many levels.
The only reason that Spears was even given an opportunity from what I can gather is due to free agency and injury.
They let their starting LG Jeff Blackshear (remember him?) go after Spears was finally given a legitimate chance to and won the starting LG position.
He played very well during the first 5 games, so much so that when their starting RT Victor Riley went down with an injury they gave him the RT spot due to his athleticism and now proven skill.
It seem like he earned the spot simply because if they wanted to they could have just moved OT/OG Will Shields over to RT, it's not like he hasn't played OT before and done it well.
Once he got there, he was part of the contingent that allowed your friendly neighborhood RB Priest Holmes to lead the NFL in rushing in 2001.
After years of not being given a chance, Spears made the most of it once he did and showed that he can play with the 'Big Boys' if you will.
Then the Chiefs made moves during the offseason that made it a given that Spears would once again return to obscurity carrying starting OT John Tait's shoulder-pads once again.
They traded with the Saints for OT Willie Roaf who when healthy is a dominant OT which predisposed them to shift 1st round OT John Tait to RT for the 2002 season.
Their next priority was to re-sign their top back up OT Marcus Spears for insurance but Spears has decided otherwise.
It's kinda like being given chocolate for the first time in your life. Once you've tasted it, you can't imagine life without it sooner or later.
So Spears, wanting a legitimate chance to start (like they'd actually choose a FA signee over a 1st rounder to start, I mean really!) and chose the Ravens who were in dire need of O-line help.
The agreement is set and the contract is signed, Spears is now a Raven with a 4-year, $4 million dollar contract which works out well for both parties.
Spears provides the Ravens with a versatile athlete at OT who upgrades their position and gives them stability in multiple positions on their O-line.
Spears himself finally gets the opportunity to be a full-time starter without having to worry about anyone stepping in and taking his spot without reason.
Spears at 6`4, 320pds is a great addition to the Ravens O-line, and after 7 seasons of being buried on various depth charts finally gets to prove to the world that he is a starter. Deservedly so.
(Pro is one of the talented individuals that hangs out at the Ravens Insider message board - http://citadel2.ezboard.com/bravensinsider . Stop in and discuss this article with him and others).