I wanted to address the idea from another topic that our offense is finally "stacked" - outside of the quarterback that is. I wanted to address the "no excuses for Joe" excuse by taking a look at how our team is built. Even though our offensive players are just fine, better than ever even, I think too many people here are ignoring the wealth of talent that the rest of the league still offers.
So let's be fair to Joe try to figure out how much talent we have around our centerpiece. If I could rank our players individually and by position, I'd put Torrey 30th best, Pitta 12th best, Monroe 9th best... and so on, then look at every other team and take forever.
Instead, let's make this easy and a little less subjective and assume all players are being paid what they're worth (minus a certain Super Bowl MVP). We know that contracts do fluctuate in their cap hit from year to year, but let's assume that as a whole they all even out for 2014.
I should mention that players on rookie contracts are are almost always being paid well below their value. A $2 million rookie is usually a better performer than a $2 million veteran. That's where draft stock comes in. Draft stock is the rights to underpay an unproven player. So before we look at team salary, let's add the value of our rookie contracts by their draft stock.
Here's what our offensive players on their rookie contracts are worth draft-wise:
All others: probably under 40 combined.
Total: 1105 (or about pick 14 in the draft). Call rookie contracts "everyone since 2011", and the average accumulation over that time for the average team (16th slot, 1/2 of all players drafted are on offense) is 3500:
3500 -> Subract the value of QBs, subtract "busts" no longer playing (Doss, Reed for us)
->add that the value of picks decreases geometrically and not arithmetically
=by my estimation, at least 3000 if not 3300.
The conclusion: over the last 4 years, we have drafted about 1/3rd the talent that the AVERAGE team spent on offense. Last year's draft was so defense-heavy that 52 non-QB offensive players were drafted before we selected one.
You could say that many of the league's rookie contract players are actually not worth what they cost to draft, and you'd be right. But when you look at the above group, have these guys really been such steals? Half of these players have added nothing to the offense and due to injuries, Osemele and Pierce have only given us half a good year each.
Now let's look at the total amount we spend on offensive players outside of the QB position (including rookie contracts, since that's the data I have available). You can see for yourself here: http://overthecap.co...n.php?Year=2014
The Ravens are spending... the 5th fewest amount on offense outside the QB position. (You'll have to do the math based on their info). $5 million under the average.
Now, you could say that our offensive cast as a whole is playing above its salary cap value. Based on last year, and with with Ray Rice making 8.8 million, I don't see that being possible. But to each his own dumb opinion.
We could say that RBs don't really have a big impact on the passing game, and discount Rice's and all other RB salaries. With Rice out of the picture, our WR/TE/OLs are probably playing over their salary value, but the Ravens are spending the 2nd fewest on these remaining positions - barely edging out the Raiders - to help Flacco.
After analysis, in order to reach league average, we'd still have 5 million dollars to spend. But not just on a $5 million veteran. Based on our draft stock debt discussed earlier, we could use it on paying the 3rd or 4th overall draft selection. By my estimation, we would need to draft a Jake Matthews or a Sammy Watkins before the draft even starts just to break even. Then, we'd have to continue drafting on offense to keep pace with the rest of the league.
To conclude, even after a productive offseason, we still hold one of the most barren (or "discount") offensive casts in the league. It feels like we are flooded with talent, but that's just relative to team history. Hopefully this has been a more logical approach than the "name players we have" approach, and the good news is... defense.
Please discuss your feelings on the offense's collective value/skill/ability this coming year given a realistic look at what we have. Or just note that I am right and move along. Thank you!