Ravens Need Adams in a Big Way

The last couple of days before March 1, the day when a lot of players are released to help NFL teams get under the cap, the Ravens made one last ditch effort to hold on to mammoth defensive tackle Sam Adams. No, it wasn't one of those mickey mouse type gestures that would allow Adams to stay for one more season, when the Ravens probably didn't want to keep him because their circumstance dictated otherwise.

The Ravens offered Adams a multi-year deal that would pay him a $5 million bonus, and an average of $4-$5 million per year. In essence, Adams was getting a raise from a team that was severely cap strapped. However, Adams rejected the offer after heeding the words of Roosevelt Barnes and Eugene Parker, that he could get more money on the open market.

Five months later, Adams is still jobless, and the Ravens are still the only team in the league to have come close to matching his sky-scraping salary demands. However, now Adams isn't demanding the ludicrous $8 million bonus he was seeking before March 1, or to be paid more than an average of $5 million per year. He simply wants to be given a small deal that would pay him a bonus worth $3-$4 million, and a deal that would average $2-$3 million in base salary. Instead of getting a raise, Adams will end up getting paid less money than he received from the Ravens back in 2000.

If the Ravens indeed ink Adams to a new contract, you can chalk this up as one of the few wins the Ravens have had throughout the offseason.

However, the Ravens wouldn't just be winners if they ended up signing Adams for a cheaper bill, but because they would have been able to re-sign Adams, period.

He is more than a one-year stopgap. At 29 years old, the two time Pro Bowler has a lot left in the gas tank. Although he weighs 350-pounds, Adams is nimble for a man his size. He commands a double team on almost every snap, and has the ability to push the pocket consistently. Adams would also become a great leveler on a defensive line that is quite paltry.

The Ravens would gain new flexibility, moving Adams back and forth between defensive end in the 3-4 scheme and defensive tackle in the 4-3 scheme. He would also help bring another pass rusher to a line that features three pretty good ones in Michael McCrary, Tony Weaver and Adalius Thomas (when he's in a down stance).

Simply put, Adams is a freak in his own right. And when motivated to play, he can bring the house down, literally.

The motivation is key though. There have been reports that Adams has gotten back into his indolent state of mind once again. He wants to miss training camp at all costs, and once he gets a fat paycheck, his level of play will come down considerably. However, since becoming a Raven in 2000, Adams has played with a lot more fire than he had played with in Seattle. This is not by coincidence.

Adams has forged a bound with defensive line coach Rex Ryan, Michael McCrary and most importantly, Ray Lewis. All three of these people have played a pivotal role in keeping Adams in check, and Adams has responded extremely well. With those three cogs still on the team, it would be surprising if Adams went back into a state of lethargy.

But there really is no reason for me to keep going on about Adams' importance to the Ravens. They know, and that's why after five months, Adams is still their No.1 priority player to re-sign.


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