The Baltimore Ravens have built a perennial contender by excelling in the drafting and development of players. The team has also hit it big on several key free agents over the years. Here are the top five free agent signings in Ravens' history.
Derrick Mason, WR
Baltimore lacked a consistent wide receiver for years before importing Derrick Mason from the Titans as a free agent. Mason went on to become the Ravens' all-time leading receiver. Mason surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in four of his six seasons in Baltimore. He caught 103 passes in 2007 and established an immediate rapport with rookie QB Joe Flacco in 2008.
Michael McCrary, DE
McCrary was the first big name free agent to come to the newly minted Ravens when he signed after the 1996 season. He went on to become a fearsome pass rusher and a vital cog in one of the best defenses in professional football history. McCrary retired following the 2002 season due to chronic knee problems. He recorded 51 sacks in 78 career games as a Raven.
Shannon Sharpe, TE
Sharpe played just two seasons in Baltimore but his impact was everlasting. He joined the Ravens in 2000 following a successful career in Denver. He emerged as a leader on offense and his 96 yard touchdown catch and run in the AFC Championship game helped propel Baltimore to its first post-Colts Super Bowl appearance.
Sam Adams, DT
Adams didn't get the fanfare or the laughs of fellow defensive lineman, and free agent signee, Tony Siragusa but his on field presence allowed Ray Lewis to roam sideline to sideline in pursuit of ball carriers.
Qadry Ismail, WR
Baltimore gave Ismail his first chance at a starting job in the 1999 season. Prior to signing with the Ravens Ismail played second fiddle to his brother Raghib "Rocket" Ismail and served as a kick returned in New Orleans and Minnesota. In four seasons with the Ravens Qadry posted two 1,000 yard receiving seasons, caught 21 touchdown passes, and collected a Super Bowl ring.
* Information gathered from http://www.pro-football-reference.com/