The Baltimore Ravens have benefited from having a familiar trio on special teams over the last few seasons. Justin Tucker has been the kicker since 2012; Sam Koch has been the Ravens punter since 2006; and rounding out the group is long snapper Morgan Cox.
All three have made it to the Pro Bowl as specialists. Cox and Koch were members of this year’s Pro Bowl team and Tucker was a Pro Bowler in 2013.
Cox signed with the Ravens in 2010 as an undrafted free agent. He walked onto the University of Tennessee football team and earned a scholarship after becoming the team’s starting long snapper.
The Ravens have a tendency to draft or sign players that they see firsthand at the Senior Bowl. Cox was invited to participate in the Senior Bowl back in 2010, prior to signing with Baltimore.
Cox is set to become a free agent after signing a one-year contract worth $825,000 with the Ravens last year. The Ravens special teams unit would like to keep their group together, but it may not be in the plans.
Financially, the Ravens could save money by bringing in a rookie to take Cox’s place at a much cheaper price. This is the typical situation that many veterans face. Teams make decisions based on the salary cap, which is more conducive to bringing in a younger, less expensive player.
According to Ravens public relations, Cox played in every Ravens game this past season. He was the snapper on 74 punts, 40 field goal attempts and 29 PATs (Point After Touchdowns). He and Koch received their first ever Pro Bowl invitations after Koch posted a 46.7 yard gross punting average and a 42.9-yard net average.
Koch is the only one of the three key specialists to sign a long-term contract. His deal is for five years and is worth $16,250,000. Tucker will likely be given the franchise tag as the two sides try to hammer out a contract.
That leaves Cox as possibly the odd man out. Long snappers are generally viewed as replaceable once they reach the veteran minimum plateau. Cox missed part of the 2014 season due to a torn ACL that landed him on injured reserve.
The Ravens signed free agent Kevin McDermott to take his place. McDermott had recently unseated long time San Francisco 49ers long snapper Brian Jennings.
Tucker gave his group the name “Wolf Pack” in reference to the movie “The Hangover.” The three consider themselves to be best friends for life. Each came in at different times but they have formed a bond.
The bond could be broken if Cox is not able to get a deal done that will allow him to continue to be a member of the Ravens.