Baltimore Ravens: 3 Players That Never Should Have Left

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans

I take a look at 3 players that should have never left the Ravens

As the Baltimore Ravens look for talent in the free agent market and draft, it is hard not to think about moves made in the past. Could that one player that was traded away or cut made a difference?

Ultimately the NFL is a business and players want to be paid for their play. As the years progress on, the contracts keep getting bigger and bigger. When a team has a very good season or wins a SuperBowl, it is hard for them to retain all of their players. The Ravens had this same problem in 2013, when players like Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and Cary Williams left in free agency.

While those players thinned out the roster, I look at 3 key players that should have never left the Ravens.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions

Anquan Boldin

Boldin was originally acquired in 2010 from the Arizona Cardinals. The Ravens gave up a third and fourth round pick, but what they got in return was even better. The Ravens acquired him at the right time at age 29.He spent 3 seasons with the Ravens and never caught for under 800 yards. He totaled more than 2500 during his time in Baltimore.

Aside from his regular season numbers, it was his playoff production that made him special. As much as Joe Flacco had to do with the 2012 Super Bowl run, so did Boldin. The wide receiver was lights out and caught everything thrown his way. He totaled over 100 yards twice in the playoffs, including 104 yards in the Super Bowl.

After the 2012 season, the Ravens traded Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers for a 6th round draft pick. The trade was a mistake for the birds, as Boldin tallied 1,000 yard seasons in both 2013 and 2014. There were rumors of the wide receiver returning in 2015, but it never happened. Last season he played for the Lions and was still productive at the age of 36, catching 8 touchdowns.

This trade will haunt the Ravens, especially since they are so thin at the wide receiver position.  it would have been nice to see Boldin a Raven for longer.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers

Kelechi Osemele

Kelechi Osemele was one of the few remaining starters that returned after the Ravens Super Bowl win in 2012. This was because the lineman was just a rookie and under a 4-year contract. Over the next few years, he began to develop into one of the best young lineman in the league. This was good and bad for the Ravens. Good because of his play, but bad because he was going to expect a big contract.

During the off-season, contract negations were held and Osemele was not happy with the offers on the table. Ultimately, the two sides could not ultimately agree on a deal and Osemele eventually signed with the Oakland Raiders. He thrived with the Raiders in 2016 and the team earned a wild-card berth. If it were not for an injury to Derrick Carr, the team could still be playing. Along with a great season Osemele was also named a 1st-team All-Pro.

Meanwhile in Baltimore, the Ravens struggled on the offensive line. Injuries forced the line to start different combinations throughout the season. Osemele would have been a major help, especially in the running game. His physicality at 333 pounds makes him close to an unstoppable force.

Yes it would have cost the Ravens, but Osemele would have been the one to give the money to.

NFL: AFC Divisional-Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs

James Harrison

This is a bit of a wild-card, but it would be interesting to see what would have been if James Harrison stayed with the Ravens.

Harrison was undrafted out of college in 2002 and was signed by the Ravens in 2003. He spent a year with the organization, but was eventually cut. He bounced around but eventually found home with who else but the Pittsburgh Steelers. Entering what is deemed to be the final few years of his career, Harrison has a lot to show for it. He won two Super-Bowls with the Steelers along with defensive player of the year in 2008.

Now at the age of 38, the outside linebacker still wreaks havoc on opposing offenses. The majority of his time is spent working out in the gym. Not to mention, he reportedly spends $400k-$600k on his body a year. He is 275 pounds and about all of it is muscle, so it makes sense.

With how great the some of the Ravens defenses have been in the past, they would have been even better with James Harrison. Now we can only hope that the offensive line can keep him away from Joe Flacco.

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