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Baltimore Ravens Free Agency: Five Free Agents the Ravens Should Target

Cian FaheyFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2011

Baltimore Ravens Free Agency: Five Free Agents the Ravens Should Target

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    The Baltimore Ravens are a football team that is ready to win now.  The team's defense is aging but still has enough time left to dominate the opposition for one more season.

    The offense has added some key weapons over the past few seasons that look like they could be coming together at the right time.

    However, the team still has a few areas that need to be addressed before they are ready for football's next season.

    Here are five free agents that could help propel the Ravens to a Super Bowl in 2011.

Matt Light

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    The longtime New England Patriots left tackle, Matt Light, has spent the best part of his 10 year career protecting the blindside of reigning league MVP Tom Brady.

    However at 32 years of age, Light could be leaving New England behind as a free agent.  The Patriots have two young replacements on the roster for Light in Sebastien Vollmer and recent first round rookie Nate Solder.  The Pats will still likely try to resign Light so Solder can sit during his rookie season.

    The Ravens may be able to entice Light to Baltimore with a better contract offer and the chance to start past this season.  Light may be old but he has a good three seasons left in him.  He has missed only 20 of the 160 games that he could have played throughout his career starting 12 games as a rookie and more importantly 16 last season.

    Light spent most of his time in New England as a pass protector rather than a mauling left tackle.  This suits the Ravens who are looking to put more of the offense on Joe Flacco's shoulders after drafting Torrey Smith this year and adding Anquan Boldin last year.  The second year tight ends will look to be more involved next season too.

    The Ravens don't seem to want to bring back Jared Gaither while Michael Oher struggled last year.  Oher is a good run blocking tackle who is better suited to the right hand side.  Should Light land in Baltimore he would allow Oher to return to the right hand side and once again solidify the team's pass protection.

Ricky Williams

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    The Ravens are reportedly releasing Willis McGahee when they get the chance.  With LeRon McClain's status unclear as he himself is hitting free agency, the team could be looking to sign a running back.  They did draft Anthony Allen in the seventh round of this year's draft but will likely look for another proven back to complement Ray Rice either way.

    The Ravens will have no interest in premiere backs such as DeAngello Williams or Joseph Addai as they are too similar to Rice(Not to mention will be too expensive for backup/complementary roles).

    Ricky Williams however won't likely be returning to Miami after the team drafted Daniel Thomas in the second round.  Williams may be close to the end of his career but his tough running could help the team replace McGahee and McClain, should he leave, in the short yardage role.

    Williams averaged over four yards per carry last season and would fit in well with the rigid AFC North.  Williams obviously wouldn't be a star for the team but he would play a major role when Ray Rice has to rest on the sidelines.

    Rice is a small body that had over 300 carries last year.  Running Backs that go over 300 carries typically struggle the following season because of the wear on their bodies.  Guys like Stephen Jackson in St. Louis and Frank Gore in San Francisco are the exceptions and comparing Rice to them physique wise is just unrealistic.

Carlos Rodgers

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    For three reasons the Baltimore Ravens should not try to sign Nnamdi Asomugha.  

    Firstly, Asomugha is going to cost a ludicrous amount of money that any competitive team cannot afford.  Secondly, the Ravens play more zone coverage than man which is not what Nnamdi excels in.  Thirdly, the drafting of Jimmy Smith means that the team will, maybe later than sooner, have it's starting cornerback of the future.

    That said they could still do with cornerback help.  Last year's starter later in the season, Josh Wilson, is set to be a free agent while Lardarius Webb remains unproven after his knee injury.

    Webb looks to be recovering well but that cannot be set in stone yet.  For this reason they don't need to look to add a top tier defensive back but maybe the second level will suit.

    Carlos Rodgers isn't going to be the most sought after corner, Asomugha, nor will he be the second most sought after, Jonathan Joseph.  He may be the best fit for the Ravens though.

    Rodgers would be an upgrade over the team's coverage from last season and isn't adverse to playing in zone coverage.

    He played well in Washington over the past few years but suffered as part of a poor defense.  With the Ravens Rodgers could excel with better pieces around him.

Kerry Collins

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    A team like the Baltimore Ravens doesn't have that many gaps to fill.  One of the most sought after quarterback free agents for teams with bigger gaps is Marc Bulger.  Bulger was one of the most reputable backup quarterback options in the league last year and won't return.

    Tyrod Taylor was drafted by the team in the sixth round of the most recent NFL draft but he is not ready to step in straight away if Flacco goes down.  Taylor is a physical specimen who starred in college but the team will likely want a veteran presence to run Cam Cameron's offense.

    Kerry Collins will actually be a hot property in the market this year.  There is no doubting his veteran experience and leadership qualities which makes him valuable to many teams.  Most of those teams will be starting a young quarterback but the Ravens could be more appealing to Collins as he gives himself a better chance to get a ring.

    Collins obviously wouldn't need to take Flacco under his wing but he could still help the young quarterback.  After all he has played in the league for 17 years.

Eric Weddle

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    With the Dallas Cowboys reportedly being interested in signing Dawan Landry and Ed Reed's injury problems that caused him to have a short flirtation with retirement recently, the Baltimore Ravens would be smart to splash out on a top level safety.

    Eric Weddle is the best free agent safety for the Ravens.  At only 26 years of age Weddle has been a key performer for the San Diego Chargers ever since becoming a starter in his second year.

    He may not have all the statistical prowess of say a Darren Sharper but his reliability as a tackler and his versatility to play both safety spots makes him a great fit for the Ravens.

    Weddle would be an instant improvement at strong safety over Landry while being a better backup for Ed Reed at the free safety spot than Tom Zbikowski.  Weddle will be difficult to pries from the Chargers if he is a restricted free agent, which he could be dependent on the CBA, but that just reflects how highly regarded he is in San Diego.

    If Weddle does not hit free agency fully then the Ravens could look to pick up somebody like Michael Huff.  Huff is a hard hitter that would be able to play strong safety for the team but maybe not cover free safety as well as Weddle. Should the team feel there is a bigger need at free safety then Darren Sharper could be pursued.

     

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