OWINGS MILLS -- Veteran tight end Ben Watson has played with Tom Brady. He's played with Drew Brees. Now he's excited to work with another elite -- yes, he used that word -- quarterback: The Ravens' Joe Flacco.
"Having watched him and obviously winning a Super Bowl, he is definitely one of the elite quarterbacks," Watson said on Thursday at his introductory news conference the day after signing a two-year deal with the Ravens worth a reported $8 million. "I can tell my grandkids I played with Drew Brees and Tom Brady, and Flacco definitely will be added to that list."
"In order to win in this league," Watson continued, "you have to have a quarterback who can make all the throws, who makes great decisions, somebody who gets you out of bad situations and that just gives you a chance to even win."
Watson said the stability of the Ravens organization -- from ownership to the general manger to the coach and the quarterback -- was part of the appeal that drew him to sign with the Ravens. Flacco recently signed a contract extension through 2021.
Watson, 35, is coming off a career year with 74 catches for 825 yards and six touchdowns in his third season with the Saints. He also spent six years with the Patriots and three with the Browns. He needs 37 receiving yards to reach 5,000 in his career, and he figures to be a popular target for Flacco.
"We're a tight end-friendly offense," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "Joe likes having tight ends that he can count on."
“Our coaching staff was convinced this was the perfect fit for what we want to do offensively,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We’re a balanced offense. He’s a run blocker, he’s very productive in the pass game, he can run all the routes, he makes plays in tight areas, he makes third-down conversions.”