The Ravens acted like a team with Super Bowl aspirations all offseason and have aggressively worked to improve their roster. The Seahawks, led by new head coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider, are rebuilding.
Just as the surprise of the Seahawks releasing accomplished WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh was wearing off, the Ravens caught some observers off-guard by signing him to a one-year contract on Labor Day. Although wide receiver did not loom as an overwhelming need, the Ravens did not pass on signing a starting-caliber player at a discount price. Houshmandzadeh will make $855,000 in Baltimore and is still owed $6.15 million by Seattle in 2010, per ESPN.com. (Houshmandzadeh is slated to make less in base salary than WR Mark Clayton, whom the Ravens traded to St. Louis after agreeing with Houshmandzadeh.) Given the opportunity to upgrade their WR corps, the Ravens did, which, given how decisively GM Ozzie Newsome has moved in the offseason, isn't much of a surprise.
Houshmandzadeh, who turns 33 later this month, led the Seahawks with 79 receptions and 911 yards in ’09, but with Seattle high on young WRs Mike Williams, Deon Butler and Golden Tate, the Seahawks decided to move on without him.
While Houshmandzadeh told Baltimore reporters it was "refreshing" to be with the Ravens, he was unhappy with the way his Seattle career ended. "This is my opinion: Me not being there, I can promise you, had nothing to do with football — not in my opinion," he said. "Nobody on that team beat me out."
Houshmandzadeh figures as the Ravens' No. 3 wide receiver, the way we hear it, behind starters Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason. The WR depth will improve even more when Donté Stallworth (broken foot) returns; he could be back around midseason. With Stallworth out, the Ravens lack a downfield threat, but they are not short on savvy receivers who can make major impacts on shorter routes. Last season, one of the Ravens' biggest concerns was a lack of consistent alternate targets when Mason was well covered, but they have addressed that issue — and then some.
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