Ravens are spending their money wisely

March, 21, 2014
3/21/14
12:00
PM ET
The Baltimore Ravens have certainly opened up their wallet this offseason, giving $44 million in guaranteed money on their five major signings. But there is a difference between spending and overspending.

The Ravens certainly got more bang for their buck when they signed four starters and their top returner this month. None of the players signed rank among the top eight highest paid at their position.

Take a look at the deals made by the Ravens this offseason:

Eugene Monroe, offensive tackle: His average per year ($7.5 million) is tied for 11th among left tackles. Branden Albert got nearly $2 million more per season from the Miami Dolphins. Monroe's average payout is also $4 million less than what the Ravens would have paid if they used the franchise tag on Monroe.

Dennis Pitta, tight end: His average per year ($6.4 million) ranks ninth among tight ends and is less than the franchise tag for that position ($7 million). Somehow, the Ravens got Pitta to agree to a contract with a lower yearly average than Seattle's Zach Miller (33 catches last season) and Jacksonville's Marcedes Lewis (25 catches last season).

Jacoby Jones, wide receiver-returner: Jones acknowledged that he was offered more money by the New York Giants and still re-signed with the Ravens. His average salary ($3 million) is $1 million less than what he made last season.

Daryl Smith, inside linebacker: His average per year ($4.025) is 21st among inside linebackers. It's also less than what two other linebackers older than 30 made this offseason: Karlos Dansby ($6 million per season) and D'Qwell Jackson ($5.5 million per season).

Steve Smith, wide receiver: How about this: the Panthers are paying Smith more than the Ravens this season. The Ravens are giving Smith $4.5 million in 2014 ($3.5 million signing bonus and $1 million salary), and the Panthers are on the hook for $5 million in salary and deferred bonuses from the last contract he signed with Carolina in 2012. That's the definition of a great deal.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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