Since being established as an NFL team in 1996, the Baltimore Ravens had their fair share of impact signings in free agency. In this article, we take a look at the five best free agent signings in franchise history.
Before we get going in full, a few notes should be made. Longevity obviously plays a role, as does success when a free agent joins the franchise. that being said, we've mostly eliminated any Ravens free agent signings who are currently active on the roster at the time of this writing. It simply makes it too confusing to know where they'd end up when making a list where other players' stats and success happen to be solidified.
5. Shannon Sharpe, TE
After spending 10 seasons with the Denver Broncos, Shannon Sharpe signed a four-year, $13.8 million contract with the Ravens. Although he only spent two seasons with the Ravens, Sharpe was a major factor in winning Super Bowl XXXV. During his two-season tenure with the Ravens, Sharpe caught 140 passes for 1,621 receiving yards. In addition, he had 16 games with five or more receptions.
Aside from his phenomenal stats, Sharpe was also a leader in the locker room. He was a mentor for many of the Ravens young players during his tenure. Nevertheless, Sharpe retired as one of the most beloved Ravens of all time. Sharpe was certainly a fan favorite because of his ecstatic personality.
Now a talking-head media member, fans might forget about his greatness, especially as the position evolves, Shannon Sharpe was a tight end ahead of his time.
4. Justin Tucker, K
A kicker? Yes, a kicker. One of the best kickers of any generation and a player who made several impacts so significant they'd be impossible to ignore.
After going undrafted, the Ravens signed Tucker to their practice squad in the 2012 NFL campaign. Tucker showcased during his impressive skills and ultimately earned the starting role. The rest is history, Tucker has already established himself as one of the greatest kickers in Ravens history.
Tucker is a three-time All-Pro, a two-time Pro Bowler and a one-time Super Bowl champ. Tucker has also recorded a 90.8 field goal percentage throughout his seven seasons in the NFL, which is the greatest of all-time. This past season, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick praised him during a post-game interview. “He's the best kicker in the history of the league, right? I mean, yeah,” Belichick said.
So, circling back: Yes, a kicker.
3. Michael McCrary, DE
After finishing off an outstanding season with the Seattle Seahawks, McCrary signed with the Ravens in 1998. During his first season with the team, McCrary recorded 69 tackles and 9.5 sacks. He finished off his career with more than 70 sacks and 400 tackles. He also played a vital role in winning Super Bowl XXXV. During their Super Bowl run, he recorded six sacks.
Sometimes lost in the shuffle due to the “home grown” talent he played next to, there's no denying the impact McCrary made for the Ravens.
After his outstanding career with the Ravens, they decided to induct McCrary into the Ravens’ Ring of Honor. He's arguably one of the Ravens' most memorable signings ever.
2. Derrick Mason, WR
The Ravens haven't had a lot of success signing wide receivers in free agency. However, Mason is one of the few that has proven to be successful.
During his first season with Baltimore, Mason set a franchise record with 86 receptions. Then two years later, he broke that record by catching 103 catches for 1,067 yards. Mason became the only player in franchise history to record a 100-catch season. Mason finished off his career with the Ravens catching 471 passes for 5,777 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Still to this day, Mason is the franchise’s all-time leader in catches and yards, and third in receiving touchdowns. Nevertheless, Mason was the first true receiver the Ravens ever had. It's why, at the end of the day, this talent now turned coach is considered one of the best Ravens free agent signings in franchise history.
1. Rod Woodson, DB
Maybe not the GOAT at his position, but he's close to being one of the very best ever. In turn, it makes sense he's the Ravens free agent signing who made it to the top of our list.
Even though he played 10 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the fans still welcomed him to Flock Nation. Little did anyone know that Woodson would go down as of the best free-agent signings in franchise history.
Woodson was the main leader in the Ravens' dominant 2000 defense. During his four-year tenure, Woodson recorded a whopping 20 interceptions and also earned three Pro Bowl nods. Nevertheless, Woodson will always be thought of as one of the greatest defenders in NFL history.