Steelers' Omar Khan Saw The Ravens Make A Big Mistake In 2019 And Refused To Replicate It

steelers' omar khan saw the ravens make a big mistake in 2019 and refused to replicate it

Steelers’ Omar Khan Saw The Ravens Make A Big Mistake In 2019 And Refused To Replicate It

The Pittsburgh Steelers are a part of one of the best and most intense rivalries in the NFL, along with the Baltimore Ravens. Both organizations are constantly keeping an eye on what the other is doing, and trying to match every move. For instance, during free agency in 2024, the Ravens signed Derrick Henry. The Steelers matched this signing by stealing one of Baltimore’s best defenders and bringing in linebacker Patrick Queen. It is a constant chess match in the AFC North, with each team’s general manager calling the shots.

There has been a lot of turnover at the general manager position across the NFL, and Steelers’ Omar Khan and Ravens’ Eric DeCosta are two of the newest general managers in the league. DeCosta took his role ahead of the 2019 season, and Khan did so in 2022. There’s a huge learning curve at general manager when you have to balance the salary cap, draft, free agency, and making sure everyone currently on your roster is happy. DeCosta made a grave mistake in 2019 when he first began as Baltimore’s general manager. He spoke about it on the podcast, Next Up with Adam Breneman.

“At that point, we weren’t in a great cap situation. My first move was trading Joe Flacco. Then we had four players on our defense that we weren’t going to bring back. It was Eric Weddle, Za’Darius Smith, CJ Moseley, and Terrell Suggs. Those are four really, really good players. Did all that in a one week span, it was brutal, it was my first month on the job. You know how social media is, it was a new experience for me, I was getting death threats. I probably should have done nothing, and I panicked, I was very impatient, and I went and signed Earl Thomas. I didn’t really vet him enough, I didn’t do my homework. He didn’t really fit our culture, he made the Pro Bowl, and we cut him the next year.”

DeCosta was feeling the pressure from the fan base for making such drastic moves in such a short period of time, so he panicked and tried to make a splash signing by bringing in Earl Thomas. Thomas’ reputation began to crumble at the end of his career, and he clashed with the Baltimore fans and many within the organization. At training camp ahead of the 2020 season, Thomas and a teammate got into a fight, which ultimately led to his release, and he hasn’t played in the league since.

Khan, who has had to make many tough decisions since officially becoming the Steelers general manager ahead of the 2022 season, has never made a mistake like DeCosta did, which effected the culture of the Ravens. Khan has definitely made some questionable signings and trades that didn’t work out, but it wasn’t because he failed to do his homework on a player. One of his most notable failures is trading for Allen Robinson II, but this trade didn’t fail because Robinson clashed with the Steelers locker room. It failed because Robinson was coming off a lot of injuries, and has started to show his age in the league.

The Steelers front office and Khan have made the culture in the locker room a priority during the 2024 offseason. They shipped off Diontae Johnson and Kenny Pickett, who each had their moments of being selfish and refusing to do what was best for the organization.

Steelers Have Dominated The Ravens In Recent Years

Since Khan took over as general manager for the Steelers, they have gone 3-1 against the Ravens, and they have gone 8-4 in the AFC North as a whole in the two years under Khan’s reign. DeCosta cannot say he has seen the same levels of success in the rivalry since he assumed his role in 2019. DeCosta and the Ravens have fallen to the Steelers seven times since the 2019 season began. Maybe if DeCosta didn’t make the crucial mistake of signing Thomas to a four-year, $55 million contract in 2019, the Ravens would have had more recent success against Pittsburgh.

How do you feel about DeCosta admitting his mistakes? Is it good to know Khan never made a mistake like this within his first two years on the job?

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