Justin Forsett Signs with the Ravens

Running back Justin Forsett of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans at M&T Bank Stadium on November 9, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison
Running back Justin Forsett celebrates a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans at M&T Bank Stadium on November 9, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland. Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison

By Michael Hanley

The Baltimore Ravens locked up their main running back Justin Forsett for the foreseeable future.

Baltimore and Forsett agreed to a three year, $3 million deal that will see him be a staple of the Ravens back field. It is a very friendly deal for both sides as Forsett now gets to enjoy the security of this three year deal and the money that comes along with it. He also now can just focus on football and what he has to do to enjoy a very successful and productive upcoming season.

On the other side, Baltimore now has a solid, reliable running back they can build their ground game around and be confident that it will be the perfect compliment to Joe Flacco and the high octane passing game they feature. This deal also does not hinder the Raven’s salary cap much at all as the team will still be able to target and sign those free agents they feel can improve and help this team become an even more solid and a bigger factor in the AFC playoff picture.

Forsett before last season in Baltimore had not been given much of a chance to be the every down starting running back on a team that had solid talent around him. He was always second fiddle to a more established and highly regarded star running back that took up a lions share of the carries leaving Forsett to have to fight and battle for the remaining few carries that he could get his hands on.

That looked as if that would define his NFL career and be the ceiling he would hit in terms of his potential. He did the back up role in Houston, Jacksonville and Seattle. Though it is great to be on an NFL roster and be able to be on the field for moments here and there, no question that Forsett had his sights set on getting that chance to prove to everyone that he was more than capable of handling the load of carries a starting running back gets and be able to make the most of those carries by being consistent and productive on the field.

He finally would get that chance as he signed a one year contract with the Ravens before last season began. It was a contract worth $730,000, one that really made him appreciate of this chance and gave him incentive to work hard and play well in order to extend his career and be in line for a bigger payday once the deal was up. Forsett took this one year in Baltimore and made it one of his best of his career.

In the 2014 season, Forsett rushed for 1,266 yards total on 235 carries plus he added eight touchdowns to his overall haul. It was a dream season for the former Cal product, as he helped the Ravens stabilize that position for them and helped them become a very difficult offense to handle for opponents. It became a choice of pick your poison for opposing defenses as they had to choose which one they would focus on, while the other would have a big game production wise.

There was some thought that he might go elsewhere in search of a better offer before the Ravens came up with this deal. This was a player they could ill afford to lose on an offense that has already lost Torrey Smith. Here is what GM Ozzie Newsome said about having a player like Justin Forsett with the organization:

“He fits well into what we do on offense, and he handles all parts of the job effectively, including blocking and receiving,” Newsome said. “I mentioned this a few weeks ago when we met with the media: Justin is a tremendous leader by example and willing to step up as both a leader and mentor. He is truly a success story, and we’re happy he’ll continue that with us. He earned his new contract.”

As Forsett approaches age 30, which he will turn in November, he recognizes the opportunity to not only play as a starter but be on a team that will be in the mix for a Super Bowl title for years to come. Though it took a lot of years, hard work and fighting through adversity, Forsett now can play freely, not worrying about a contract or people poaching his starting job.