The Baltimore Ravens are famous for great drafts, great coaching and great player development. Many Ravens players, as they near the end of their contracts, draw heavy interest from other NFL teams who are flush with cap space and money and want a little of that Baltimore “mojo” on their own rosters.
Fans in Baltimore know it’s either something in the water (not that unlikely given the condition of the harbor) or something in the locker room (more likely) that spurs good players to greatness during their time in purple and black even though there is sometimes the collective gnashing of teeth by the fans when these players walk.
Oftentimes, though, the front office of NFL teams courting these players don’t seem to realize this as they open the vaults to woo standout Raven players away from Baltimore, hoping for big results for their money spent. Unfortunately for these teams, the reality rarely equals the expectation once these players leave the confines of Baltimore and M&T Bank Stadium.
Here are the top 5 post Ravens flame-outs who got PAID by other teams & didn’t quite meet expectations:
5. Adalius Thomas
After being drafted by the Ravens in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, Adalius Thomas worked his way up to starter over a few years eventually earning 2 Pro Bowl spots & was a 1st team All-Pro as part of a best in the NFL defense in 2006 that led the Ravens to a 13-3 season. As a super versatile LB who saw time at CB (!) & DE, Thomas racked up 106 tackles, 11 sacks, 1 int, 1 safety & 1 fumble recovered for a TD in 2006.
In March 2007, Thomas signed a 5-year deal with the New England Patriots. In the words of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots had “backed up the Brink’s truck” to sign him to a contract worth $35 million including $20 million in guaranteed money.
Thomas played three years for the Patriots before being released. His first season with them was good, but nothing like his best years in Baltimore. He played on the “undefeated team” (that actually was defeated by the Giants in the Super Bowl) recording 57 tackles & two forced fumbles, but it went downhill after that. His role was decreased over the next two years & he beefed with Coach Belichick in the press over being deactivated for multiple games after being “sent home” for arriving late to a team meeting.
Thomas was released by the Patriots after the 2010 NFL Draft & has not played again…not the results the Patriots were looking for for their $20 million.
4. Tony Pashos
OT Tony Pashos was a 5th round pick of the Ravens in 2003 & was a standout RT in 2005 & 2006. After the 2006 season many Ravens fans were dismayed at the prospect of him leaving and, sure enough, on the first day of Free Agency in 2007, the Jacksonville Jaguars swooped in with a five-year contract worth $25,000,000 with $10,000,000 in guaranteed money.
Pashos played only two years for the Jags before being cut in 2009. He has since bounced around the league, spending time with the 49ers, Browns, Redskins & Raiders and has never again reached the full potential he displayed in Baltimore.
3. Dawan Landry
The Ravens selected FS Landry in the 5th round of the 2006 NFL Draft. Landry earned a starting spot next to Ed Reed in his rookie year and finished with an outstanding 69 tackles, 3 sacks & 5 interceptions, including 1 for a TD & earned him many accolades & spots on various end of the season “All Rookie” teams.
Landry followed up that season with another strong year before being seriously injured in 2008. His return in 2009 saw him return to form and he led or was near the team lead in tackles & interceptions through 2010.
In 2011, the Jacksonville Jaguars showed up (again), this time with a five-year contract worth $27 million. Landry never quite fulfilled expectations on that deal in Jacksonville. Aafter a decent first year with the Jags he was cut after his second season with them after the team finished 2-14 & was regarded by fans as an overpaid player. Landry was signed by the Jets in 2013.
2. Gary Baxter
Cornerback Gary Baxter was drafted in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Ravens. In his second year with the Ravens he became an everyday starter at cornerback & safety. Over the next three years, Baxter was a major player on one of the NFL’s consistently best defenses.
In 2005 as his contract ended, the Ravens tried to resign him but the Cleveland Browns came calling with open wallets. The Browns signed him to a six-year, $30 million contract with $10.5 million guaranteed.
Unfortunately for Baxter (and the Browns) the rest of his career was injury-plagued as he missed 11 Games in ’05 & suffered a rare double knee injury in ’06 that effectively ended his career. He mounted a comeback in 2007, but was placed on injured reserve & released by the Browns in 2008. He played in a total of eight games for the Browns.
1. Edgerton Hartwell
LB Edgerton Hartwell was drafted in the 4th round of the 2001 NFL draft by the Ravens. Playing next to Ray Lewis, Hartwell became a standout linebacker on typically stellar Baltimore defenses from 2002 t0 2004. In 2002 he took over for an injured Ray Lewis for most of the year & registered more than 140 stops.
Hartwell made news in 2004 by claiming that his tackles were being given to Ray Lewis on the stat sheet. He wanted to get out from under Ray’s shadow & run his own defense & show what he could do.
The Atlanta Falcons gave him that chance in 2005. Hartwell signed a $26 million 6-year free agent contract with an $8 million signing bonus.
After two injury plagued seasons in Atlanta, Ray Lewis’ shadow probably looked like a comfortable place to be. Hartwell only played in 13 games for the Falcons & didn’t equal any of his single season Ravens numbers when he was starting in two years with the Falcons.
Hartwell was released in 2007 after two bad seasons. He later signed with the Bengals & Raiders but never played in another regular season NFL game.
He’s now best known as an ex- husband of “Real Housewife of Atlanta” Lisa Wu-Hartwell.
(DIS?)HONORABLE MENTIONS & TOO SOON TO TELLS: Duane Starks, Bart Scott, Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe, Le’Ron McClain
Web Administrator for CBS Radio Baltimore – Ravens, Orioles & snark enthusiast.
More Top 5 Lists: