5 Free Agents the Baltimore Ravens Should Target This Offseason
Free Agents Baltimore Should Target This Offseason
As a fan of the Baltimore Ravens, it feels strange to be thinking of possible free agent acquisitions for the next season. Alas, this is the position all Ravens fans find themselves in after five straight years of winning playoff games and a Super Bowl title last year. It was a great run, but with some savvy free agent pickups the Ravens could find themselves back in the mix for the 2014 season.
At the State of the Ravens' press conference, general manager Ozzie Newsome identified three major needs going forward into 2014 and beyond. Getting bigger on the interior line, an athletic safety and a chain-mover receiver. Despite the fact the playoffs are still going on, it’s never too early to start targeting new veteran additions. Of course, you always have to consider how many of your own team's free agents get re-signed before even thinking of signing other guys. The Ravens officially have 14 players set to become unrestricted free agents. Some guys will obviously be gone, like Brandon Stokley (retiring) and Dallas Clark. Others, the Ravens will make it a priority to bring back, like Eugene Monroe, Dennis Pitta and Daryl Smith.
The list of the five players I came up with are none of the previous mentioned players. This list is comprised of players who played with different teams the previous year.
The following are five free agents that the Ravens should really consider targeting once free agent season begins. As always, enjoy the show.
The Ravens could definitely use a new man in the middle of their offensive line. Second year center Gino Gradkowski had a rough go of it in 2013. He tried hard, but his lack of size and experience really doomed his 2013 campaign. Alex Mack would be a great addition if the Ravens didn't want to worry about their center position for a while. Mack would be the priciest option no doubt, but could be worth it in the long run. Other nice options at center to consider are Brian De la Puenta and Roberto Garza.
Out of all of the free agent receivers, Jeremy Maclin is the most intriguing to me. He's a solid possession receiver that can run after the catch. The Ravens sorely need someone like that. On the other hand, Maclin is coming off an ACL injury which kept him from playing in 2013. Maclin has a knack for being a little injury prone. With all that being said, that should make his price tag reasonable.
Assuming the Ravens strike a deal with Pitta and let Ed Dickson walk, they would have an open tight end spot. Jeff Cumberland would make a nice No. 2 with the Ravens, as he was one of the few that stood out on a bad New York Jets offense.
Karlos Dansby is a guy I wanted the Ravens to sign last offseason. Instead, the Ravens went with Rolondo McClain, who got in trouble about five seconds after he signed. Dansby went on to have a really good season with his former team the Arizona Cardinals (dude is a tackling machine). Luckily for the Ravens, they picked up Daryl Smith with the Walmart bargain bin and he was one of the best players on defense for them this past year. If the Ravens can't resign Smith, then I would be more than happy with Dansby.
Jairus Byrd is likely out of the Ravens' price range, but if they want a true free safety, Byrd is the best guy out there. Either way, the Ravens will look to slide Matt Elam to his natural strong safety position. James Ihedigbo is probably the odd man out in the equation.