James Harrison to the Baltimore Ravens?
The concept that new free agent James Harrison could play on the Baltimore Ravens in 2013 is like cats and dogs living together in harmony, Spartans and Trojans sharing kabobs, and even Jon Lovitz and Andy Dick hugging each other. It just doesn’t seem possible does it?
However it does make sense on paper. The Ravens are likely to lose Paul Kruger who was a one-dimensional pass rusher to free agency, and Harrison can fill that role better than Kruger did.
Here’s why with a side by side comparison of the two players.
From right to left is combined tackles per game (1), solo tackles per game (2), sacks per game (3) and forced fumbles per game (4).
The only area where Kruger beats Harrison is in sacks per game. That’s it. Every other category Harrison is about 50% better than Kruger. Harrison is the better overall player, and if Kruger leaves which is the consensus, because of Kruger’s contract demands, then Harrison could fill in his role.
And can you imagine a defense with Terrell Suggs on one side and James Harrison on the other? It’s a deadly combination that will make the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens division matches into an Epic battle of vengeance for Harrison.
Because Harrison should never have been released, and his age is suspect, but he’s performing on a higher level than his peers at the same age. A two-year contract sounds sensible for Harrison at the Ravens price, because the Ravens still haven’t found that strongside linebacker to complement Suggs on the other side.
The Ravens attempted to fill that spot with Sergio Kindle in 2010, but Kindle suffered a terrible accident after falling down a flight of stairs during his rookie season that has left him having to re-learn how to gain his motor skills back. Kindle was released during the 2012 Playoffs just before the Super Bowl and you have to feel bad for the guy, but he isn’t going to be the answer.
That sets the Ravens back until they can find another player in the draft, but Harrison can help alleviate some of that pressure to find a replacement with the 32nd pick. If the Ravens sign Harrison at the right price, then they can focus on other needs including safety, cornerback, defensive linemen and possibly draft a developmental 3-4 strongside linebacker in the latter rounds.
And Harrison benefits, because he’ll actually be on a team in 2013. However Harrison may take offense to the Ravens low-balling him to come there.
Not only have the Ravens been his sworn enemy for so many years, but they give him a low contract offer too may be all the incentive Harrison needs to say no thank you. However there is no doubt that Harrison makes sense being signed for the right price on the Ravens for 2013.
It may sound weird or feel weird like living in a real Twilight Zone episode, but it makes sense. Harrison still has football left in him, and the Ravens need a player like Harrison to solidify the front seven in 2013.
James Cobern is a Featured Journalist for TPF and can be contacted at JCobern@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com.