By the time the Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII last year in New Orleans, it was already the first week of February. That's a few weeks before the NFL scouting combine and just over a month until the launch of the free agent signing period.
That isn't a primary reason why the Ravens went 8-8 this past season and missed the playoffs for the first time in the John Harbaugh era. However, the time element is a factor, because teams that don't make it to the postseason or are eliminated early have more time to prepare for free agency and the draft.
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"Well, you're in a time crunch," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said at the NFL scouting combine. "The last two years we've made it all the way to the AFC championship game and a year ago to the Super Bowl. You're in a time crunch. You're four or five weeks behind everybody. You're trying to play catch-up. The other aspect of it when you win a Super Bowl you win it because you have good players and can you maintain all of those players.
"At some point, those players have to be compensated and the salary cap just doesn't work to where you can become like the 49ers or the Cowboys were back in those days when they were winning multiple Super Bowls. It's a great problem to have. I wish I was here working on a short time frame, but if you were to ask me which I would rather be I would rather be in Seattle's position than my position. It's tough to do, but it can be done."