BOCA RATON, Fla. — The Baltimore Ravens made the decision that they were going to go after Ben Watson when free agency opened.

So, it’s no surprise he struck a deal with the team during the so-called tampering period, the day before free agency officially opened. Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said that was exactly the way the Ravens scripted the situation.

“We’ve always known what kind of player Ben Watson is,” Harbaugh said. “To see him play at high a level as he’s ever played this year with Sean and the Saints was very impressive. We felt like he had a few years left in him, that he could play on that level.”

Watson finished last season with 825 yards, a career high. After losing Watson to Baltimore, the Saints quickly struck a deal with former Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener.

But even beyond football, Harbaugh said part of the appeal of having Watson around is what he brings to the locker room.

“On top of that, the leadership ability he brings, we have a young locker room. He’s just a stand-up guy in every way, he’s a strong Christian,” Harbaugh said. “He stands for something. He cares about his teammates. He’s a family man.

“But we also feel like he’s going to make plays on third odwn for us and in the red zone. That’s pretty important. He’s just kind of the total package. We made a decision he was the tight end that we were going to go after right away.”