Late For Work 4/10: How Free Agency Affected Super Bowl Odds

Burfict back on radar? 2nd-round picks, Kendricks to visit Ravens, Webb by the numbers.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 at 8:56 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

How Free Agency Affected Super Bowl Odds

One free-agent signing can significantly alter the course of a season.

For example, should the Denver Broncos, who signed future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, now be considered a serious Super Bowl contender?

Las Vegas thinks so.

With the first wave of free agency past, YahooSports! compared team-by-team Super Bowl odds released by offshore sportsbook Bovada.LV in mid-February with the company’s current odds.

The Broncos made the biggest splash, jumping from 50/1 odds to 12/1. Wow.

Other teams that seemed to have inspired confidence were the San Francisco 49ers (18/1 to 10/1), Chicago Bears (30/1 to 20/1) and Seattle Seahawks (60/1 to 40/1).

With a quiet start to free agency, and while losing starters Ben Grubbs, Jarret Johnson and Cory Redding to the market, the Ravens’ Super Bowl odds got worse, although not by much.

The Ravens opened with 14/1 Super Bowl odds, but dropped to 16/1 favorites after a month of free agency in the books.

According to Vegas, however, Baltimore has the best chance among AFC North teams of bringing home the Lombardi trophy.

The Pittsburgh Steelers saw the biggest plummet in the division, dropping from 12/1 favorites to 20/1. The Steelers lost their offensive coordinator and have yet to secure restricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace.

“The offensive line is still below average and the defense said goodbye to linebacker James Farrior and defensive end Aaron Smith,” wrote Yahoo!Sports’ Joe Fortenbaugh. “In addition, Troy Polamalu and James Harrison aren’t getting any younger, which is why Pittsburgh fans may be hesitant this year about throwing down some coin on the Black & Yellow.”

The Cleveland Browns dropped from 100/1 odds to 150/1.

“Do you think any sportsbook in the world has taken a single bet on the Browns to win the 2013 Super Bowl?” asked Fortenbaugh. “I’m not even sure that the most diehard of Cleveland fans would be willing to throw $10 on these guys to finish the season 7-9.”

The Cincinnati Bengals kept their same odds of 40/1.

Could Burfict Still Be On Ravens’ Radar?

Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict was once the most popular first-round mock draft pick for the Ravens.

That is, until he turned in a 40-time slower than some offensive linemen at the combine and then blamed others, including coaches, for mistakes and mediocre performance in his junior year.

That’s when his stock plummeted and he no longer showed up in the media as the Ravens’ potential first-rounder.

But after hearing Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta tell media last week that you won’t see movement on the Ravens draft board the way you see it in mock drafts because they put heavy stock into film, CSNBaltimore.com’s John Eisenberg now wonders if Burfict could still be in the picture.

“I’m hearing [DeCosta's comments] to mean that while Burfict might have fallen to a third-round prospect, don’t discount the possibility of the Ravens grabbing him at that slot as a classic “value” pick, a guy with first-round talent whose stock dropped for reasons that might not matter once he is playing in the NFL,” wrote Eisenberg.

“Since the combine, Burfict has run a much faster 40 at his school’s Pro Day and attempted to perform damage control on his reputation. This is a guy who plays like a Raven, as the saying goes. Perhaps he shouldn’t be entirely dismissed as a possibility.”

Ravens Second-Round Pick Predictions

The Ravens hold the 60th-overall pick in the second round of this April’s draft.

With that selection, ESPN’s Mel Kiper sees Baltimore taking N.C. State linebacker Terrell Manning and Todd McShay likes Illinois guard Jeff Allen.

Jamison Hensley pooh-poohed the Allen suggestion.

“There is no question that the Ravens have a big need at left guard,” wrote Hensley. “But Allen has to convert from being a left tackle in college. Under this scenario, the Ravens might as well go ahead and switch Jah Reid from tackle to guard.”

Webb, And His Contract, By The Numbers

Believing Lardarius Webb will be one of the NFL’s top corners of the future, the Ravens signed him to a five-year extension (six-year total) reportedly worth $50 million dollars.

According to Pro Football Focus, Webb was already one of the league’s best corners. In fact, the NFL statistics and analysis website purports he was the fourth best in 2011.

Here’s a look at Webb by the (PFF) numbers:

  • Fourth-highest graded CB in 2011
  • Second-highest graded CB in coverage in 2011 (only Derrelle Revis was ranked higher)
  • Played in 18 games last season, seeing a total of 638 snaps in coverage, and didn’t allow a single touchdown reception in that time
  • Of the 102 times he was targeted (season and playoffs), he got his hands on 20, with eight interceptions and 12 passes broken up
  • Second-highest graded CB in slot coverage, allowing just one reception in every 12.8 plays

“Taking a look at the wide receivers within their division shows another reason why the Ravens must do all they can to keep Webb in Baltimore,” Pro Football Focus wrote in March. “In Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown (+14.2) and Mike Wallace (+9.6), and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green (-1.6), the Ravens will see three of the Top 22 WRs (according to 2011 PFF receiving grades) twice each in 2012.”

Of course, the Ravens did lock him up with an enticing deal, which Webb officially signed on Friday, according to the Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson.

Webb’s $50 million contract includes a $10 million signing bonus, according to Wilson, and a $5 million option bonus due in 2013.

Wilson breaks down the salary-cap figure for each year of his contract.

Year

Salary-Cap Figure
2012  $2.615 million
2013 $5.385 million
2014 $10.5 million
2015 $11 million
2016 $11 million
2017 (optional) $9.5 million

LB Kendricks Scheduled To Visit Ravens

Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks is scheduled to visit the Ravens this week, reports Wilson.

Kendricks, who shined at the combine, finished his senior 2011 campaign with 106 tackles, 14 1/2 for losses, one sack, a forced fumble, an interception returned for a touchdown and two fumble recoveries.

His impressive season was good enough to earn the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honor.

The 5-foot-11, 240-pounder has been projected to go in the second or third rounds of the draft.

Kendricks will be a busy man this week as he also plans to visit the Steelers, Houston Texans, St. Louis Rams and the Atlanta Falcons.

Quick Hits

  • Speaking on the Ravens’ added focus on draft prospect concussion history, Hensley writes: “This is not only an intelligent move., i It’s a necessary one. When a player has had concussions in college, there’s a strong likelihood that he’ll have them in the future. So having a player’s history of head injuries is just as important as his history with knee injuries and perhaps even moreso. … This league is a business, and teams don’t want to invest a first- or second-round pick in a player who has a short career because of head trauma.” [ESPN]
  • A fan asks if it’s unfair of media outlets to say running back Ray Rice is planning to “hold out” if he isn’t under contract. John Clayton responds: “Call it what you want, but if a player doesn’t show up, it’s a holdout. Technically, you are 100 percent correct. An unsigned player isn’t allowed to be in camp or with his team unless it’s the offseason program, OTAs or minicamps. It is his legal right to be away from the team during those organized workouts. He’s not fined. Still, you can’t change reality. If you’re out of camp, you’re a holdout.” [ESPN]
  • The NFL upheld the bounty-related suspensions – “after careful consideration” – for the Saints Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt, the league announced Monday. [CBSSports.com]

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