Losing Ihedigbo, Kemoeatu could erode Ravens’ depth

Losing Ihedigbo, Kemoeatu could erode Ravens’ depth
February 17, 2013, 3:45 pm

The talk of Ravens free agency centers around quarterback Joe Flacco, safety Ed Reed, cornerback Cary Williams, left tackle Bryant McKinnie and linebackers Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe.

But there are lesser-heralded players who also are unrestricted free agents, too:

S James Ihedigbo ($700,000): He was released by the New England Patriots just before the 2012 season began, and the Ravens scooped him up. Ihedigbo was a key special-teams player and had 25 tackles and one sack as he played with an incredible mean streak. The presence of the sixth-year player, who played a pivotal role on the Patriots’ Super Bowl team, was crucial at the end of the season when he started three games in place of Bernard Pollard who had broken ribs. In Week 11 at the Pittsburgh Steelers, he ended the season of quarterback Byron Leftwich with a blindside hit that broke his ribs. It came in the fourth quarter and on third down of a 13-10 win for Baltimore. On the Ravens’ only TD in that game, Ihedigbo planted Will Allen of the Steelers on a punt return by Jacoby Jones, allowing him to go 63 yards for the score. Allen didn't return because of a shoulder injury.

CB Chris Johnson ($825,000): A promising start sputtered in the end. Johnson was signed less than a week before the game at Pittsburgh when cornerback Jimmy Smith had to undergo hernia surgery. The Ravens weren't confident in second-year player Chykie Brown, so they lured Johnson who was unsigned in his eighth season. Johnson stripped Steelers receiver Mike Wallace on his first play as a Raven, helping reverse the tide of a game that was in danger of getting away. But Johnson only played six snaps because of a hamstring injury and never regained his footing. He missed the next two games and then made a monumental mistake in Week 14, breaking containment on his assignment late in the fourth quarter vs. the Washington Redskins as backup QB Kirk Cousins completed an 11-yard TD pass to Pierre Garcon with 36 seconds left. Coach John Harbaugh didn't call out Johnson by name, but he was irate after the Ravens lost 31-28 in overtime. Johnson only made one appearance in the postseason, getting on the field for five special-teams plays in the AFC title game with the Patriots. He was inactive for the Super Bowl.

DT Ma’ake Kemoeatu ($825,000): In his 10th season, he made 13 starts but shared the playing time with Terrence Cody as coordinator Dean Pees admittedly used a lot of “gimmicks” to get pressure from his defensive fronts. Kemoeatu played 24 of 62 snaps in the Super Bowl (39%), and 84 of 267 snaps in the three other playoff games (31.4%).

S Sean Considine ($890,000): Eighth-year player was in his first season in Baltimore, playing mostly on special teams. Considine had just nine tackles and didn't make a start. He didn't play a defensive snap in four postseason games but was active on special teams.  

TE Billy Bajema ($825,000): The seventh-year player only was active for eight regular-season games and made his way on the field more when Ed Dickson injured his knee in Week 12 and missed three games. Still, Bajema, who played 10 offensive snaps for the Super Bowl and played each postseason game, didn't have a catch.

LB Ricky Brown ($700,000): His first season here didn't take off because of a hip injury that kept him on the injured list. Brown spent his first six years with the Oakland Raiders.

DT Ryan McBean ($1.2 million): In his first season in Baltimore, he didn't get on the field during the regular season. McBean broke his ankle in a preseason game. He spent his previous season in Denver where he amassed four sacks.