Wed Jan 30 3:35pm ET
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
Players: Joe Flacco
In this July 28, 2017 file photo, Baltimore Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, from left, general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome and owner Stephen Bisciotti look out at practice fields during NFL football training camp in Owings Mills, Md. DeCosta is already hard at work in his new role as the Ravens' general manager, trying his best to make the transition from Newsome as seamless as possible. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) In his new role as general manager of the Baltimore Ravens, Eric DeCosta has no intention of filling the shoes of his highly successful predecessor, Ozzie Newsome.
''I have size 10+ feet and I think Ozzie is a 13, so there you go,'' DeCosta said Wednesday, standing alone in front of a gathering of the media and team employees at his first news conference since taking the job on Jan. 11.
Newsome, who held the post since the franchise moved from Cleveland in 1996, will stay on as an adviser. The first African-American GM in NFL history, Newsome drafted wisely and shrewdly combed the free agent market to build the Ravens into a perennial contender and two-time Super Bowl champions.
DeCosta was there for all of it. As an intern, DeCosta's duties included taking then-coach Ted Marchibroda's car for oil changes. The coach gave him $100 and told him to keep the change, so DeCosta found a place that charged $9.99.
''Sometimes people would think that maybe I'd be embarrassed that I started off as an intern now that I'm a GM, that I want to forget that,'' DeCosta said. ''To be honest with you, I cherish the fact that I could start out as a young person and really do a lot of different things.''
DeCosta moved up the corporate ladder to become assistant general manager in 2012. He began to attract the interest of other clubs, so owner Steve Bisciotti promised him a promotion after the 2018 season. Now that the job he long coveted is his, the 47-year-old DeCosta is already hard at work trying to improve a team that won the AFC North before being eliminated with a first-round playoff loss.
He has overseen personnel meetings, huddled with top team officials in Florida, attended a couple college all-star games and given plenty of thought to the draft.
''There are times I look at the challenges and they are daunting. But I've been blessed that I've had a lot of time to think and prepare for this,'' he said. ''Had I had gone to another team, with all new faces, new organization, new people, that would be a little more challenging.''
This job has plenty of obstacles to clear, most notably a tight salary cap and some important pending personnel decisions. Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley is a pending free agent, the status of safety Eric Weddle and guard Marshal Yanda for 2019 is uncertain and quarterback Joe Flacco is almost certainly heading elsewhere.
''If there's one team interested, yeah, we'll probably trade him,'' DeCosta said of Flacco. ''If there's nobody interested, we'll have to make another decision.''
Having Newsome on his side will make those kinds of choices a whole lot easier.
''I am extremely happy that Ozzie is going to play such a significant role moving forward for this organization,'' DeCosta said. ''It just gives me immense joy that I can still mess around with him like I do.''
Having learned so much from Newsome, DeCosta has no intention of straying from the lessons provided by his mentor.
''We've done a lot of really good things in the past, and we would be foolish to change things overnight,'' he said.
DeCosta revealed that Bisciotti actually broached the subject of his ascension to general manager in 2007. Eleven years later, it finally happened. Along the way, DeCosta spurned several opportunities to land a GM job in another city.
''Did I have chances? Yeah. Did I have a lot? Yeah. Did I ever really consider it? Not really,'' DeCosta said. ''Every time I'd go to bed, thinking that maybe I would consider something, I'd wake up and say, `What are you crazy? You know you're going to have the job someday that you've dreamed about, so just wait and make it perfect.'''
Former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin announced on Sunday that he is retiring from the NFL after 10 years. Maclin was drafted in the first round in 2009 and spent six seasons with the Eagles alongside DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. He is the 10th leading receiver in Philly franchise history after compiling 343 catches, 4,771 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns. Maclin spent the last three years struggling with the Chiefs and Ravens.
New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the NFL Sunday, March 24.
Fantasy Spin: The Patriots have lost Gronkowski and Dwayne Allen this offseason, so they probably will be looking for a tight end early in the 2019 NFL Draft. None of the other tight ends on the Patriots roster have a lot of fantasy value.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced on Sunday that he is retiring. The 29-year-old Gronk finished on a high note in the postseason and goes out on top with another Super Bowl ring, but he struggled to gain separation from defenders in the regular season and finished with 47 catches for 682 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season in 13 games. Gronkowski had four 1,000-yard receiving seasons and amassed a whopping 79 regular season scores in his nine-year career. He'll go down as one of the most dominant tight ends in NFL history. With Gronk no longer around, Stephen Anderson will be the top tight end on the depth chart, although he won't be much of a fantasy consideration. Losing Gronk as a safety blanket will surely affect quarterback Tom Brady negatively moving forward.
Free-agent WR Jeremy Maclin (Ravens) announced his retirement Sunday, March 24.
Free-agent DE Michael Johnson (Bengals) is not expected to re-sign with the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason.
The Dallas Cowboys signed free-agent safety George Iloka to an undisclosed one-year deal on Saturday, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. The seven-year safety played the first six seasons of his career with the Bengals but disappointed with only 16 tackles in 16 games (three starts) for the Vikings in 2018. It's looking like Iloka will have a starting role with his new team in Dallas.
Denver Broncos CB Bryce Callahan (foot) is unlikely to participate in the team's draft-week minicamp as he recovers from a foot injury, head coach Vic Fangio said Sunday, March 24.
Free-agent TE Clay Harbor (Saints) is attempting an NFL comeback and also appears to be open to changing his position to fullback. He has resumed training in the hopes of earning a workout with a team this offseason. Harbor plans to move on if he has not been signed by the time training camps open.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston, who is listed at 6-foot-4 and 231 pounds, intends to add muscle during the offseason and wants to play at 250 pounds in 2019. 'I'm getting it. I'm going to play bigger this year. I'm about 250. Yeah. A solid 250. It's just about hydration and being at the peak body, too,'' Winston said.
Fantasy Spin: It's unclear why Winston feels the need to put on weight, although fantasy owners will probably take it if it allows him to stay on the field and improve on his deep passing. The arrival of head coach Bruce Arians figures to be a boon to his career, and there is little question he has a capable supporting cast with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard as his primary targets. If he doesn't thrive this season, he'll likely have no one but himself to blame.
Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson called his 2018 season 'decent' and believes he is capable of more in 2019.
Fantasy Spin: Peterson rushed for 1,042 yards last year, but with Derrius Guice expected to be fully recovered from a knee injury, Peterson looks like more of a handcuff than a fantasy starter.
Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys SS George Iloka has agreed to a one-year deal, according to a source.
Free-agent SS George Iloka (Vikings) has agreed to sign with the Dallas Cowboys Saturday, March 23, according to a source.
Free-agent SS George Iloka (Vikings) talked to the Minnesota Vikings at the NFL Scouting Combine about a possible return, but it appears like he will sign with another team this offseason.
Free-agent CB Neiko Thorpe (Seahawks) re-signed with the Seattle Seahawks Saturday, March 23. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Free-agent WR Malcolm Mitchell (Patriots) said he plans to retire from professional football.
The Detroit Lions signed free-agent cornerback Rashaan Melvin to a one-year, $3.5 million deal on Friday, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Melvin played for the Patriots in 2015 when head coach Matt Patricia was the defensive coordinator. The 29-year-old has been mostly a starter the last three seasons with the Colts and Raiders and had a career-high three interceptions with the Colts in 2017. He could be the replacement for Nevin Lawson, who signed with the Raiders earlier this week.
The Oakland Raiders signed free-agent quarterback Mike Glennon to a one-year, $2 million deal on Friday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The 29-year-old will be with his fourth different team in the last four seasons and will serve as Derek Carr's backup in silver and black. Glennon has played in 27 games (22 starts) and is 6-16 as a starter in his five seasons in the NFL. He has 35 touchdown passes, 20 interceptions and an 84.0 quarterback rating. Glennon won't be fantasy relevant.
Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson could make as much as $40 million per year on his next contract, according to Bucky Brooks of NFL.com.
Free-agent RB C.J. Anderson (Rams) said on his Twitter feed that his time with the Los Angeles Rams 'was fun' and that he enjoyed the opportunity.
Fantasy Spin: Anderson was speaking like a player who doesn't expect to be back with the Rams in 2019. However, he did show that he has a little gas left in the tank in the right offense, and depending on where he signs, he could have some appeal as a depth option for fantasy owners.
Dallas Cowboys WR Allen Hurns will likely see fewer opportunities next season after the signing of WR Randall Cobb, in the opinion of Kate Hairopoulos of The Dallas Morning News.