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Late For Work 4/7: Lardarius Webb 'Nearing Deal' With Ravens; Anquan Boldin In No Rush To Sign

Posted Apr 7, 2017

Barring any final contract complications, Lardarius Webb will be a Raven again. Anquan Boldin wants to wait until around training camp to sign. Michael Campanaro’s new deal is worth less than his tender, unless he produces. Ravens have room for a very large undrafted rookie class.

Lardarius Webb ‘Nearing Deal’ With Ravens

Baltimore left the door open for Lardarius Webb to return, and it looks like he’ll walk through it.

The Ravens are “nearing a deal” with the veteran defensive back after releasing him in March, according to CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora. Barring any final complications, the Ravens are expected to re-sign Webb, added ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.

At the time of Webb’s release, General Manager Ozzie Newsome said the 2009 draft pick could return because “we need as many good football players as we can have.”

Baltimore reportedly created $5.5 million in cap space by cutting Webb on March 10, and is likely to bring him back at a reduced rate.

Turning a multi-year starter, presumably at a cheaper price, into a versatile backup at either safety or corner would constitute as strong depth in the Ravens defense. That’s something the Ravens have been seeking.

They’ve made it clear that their mission this offseason is to improve the secondary, from the starting lineup to the last person on the depth chart.

Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson are entrenched as the starting safeties, but after also starting there for all 16 games last season and grading out by Pro Football Focus as the NFL’s 16th best safety, Webb provides a proven insurance policy that could immediately jump in if an injury were to occur.

Webb also provides support at cornerback, where he played for the first seven years of his career. He’s particularly strong in the nickel against slot receivers.

“I do not think it is any mystery about where we need to improve personnel-wise. [The secondary] is a key spot,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said when the season ended. “If we can do that, it is going to dramatically impact our defense.”

The team has backed up its talk by making significant investments to upgrade the unit. It signed Jefferson (four years, $34 million) and new cornerback Brandon Carr (four years, $23.5 million) to start alongside Weddle and Jimmy Smith, respectively.

And the Ravens aren’t done. They expressed confidence this week about adding another corner early in the draft.

Oh, and if these reports come to fruition, Webb and Jefferson will have to chat about jersey numbers.

Anquan Boldin In No Rush To Sign; Haloti Ngata Recruiting Him Back To Detroit

Veteran receiver Anquan Boldin waited until the day before training camp to sign a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions last July.

Why not continue that practice so he can have the freedom to work out from his hometown of Pahokee, Fla. and stay close to his family?

Well, that looks like his plan.

Boldin told CBSSports.com’s Jamey Eisenberg that he will likely wait to sign with a team closer to training camp again this year. He just didn’t offer any clues about which team that will be.

"I'm still healthy, still going strong," Boldin said at his charity golf event. "I still have the passion."

There may be more teams interested in Boldin’s services, but the Ravens and Lions are two organizations that have publicly expressed their desire to re-sign him.

“I don’t know if Anquan wants to come back,” Harbaugh said last month. “That would be another thing we’d have to look into. I do believe he can still play at the highest level. His ability and his skills are such that he’s not going to drop off the edge just because of how he plays.”

How many more years can he play at that level?

Boldin’s trainer in Florida, Tony Villani at XPE Sports, told Eisenberg that Boldin is in good enough shape to play two or three more years. Whether Boldin, 36, wants to do that is unknown. He’s simply announced that he’ll be back for his 15th NFL season.

He caught 67 passes for 584 yards and eight touchdowns as the Lions’ No. 3 receiver last season.

Count former Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata as another person that wants Boldin back in Detroit with him again next year. Ngata appeared Friday at Boldin’s charity golf tournament wearing a Lions team polo and team hat because this is “definitely a recruiting trip.”

“I want to make sure he still remembers us,” Ngata said. “If he comes back, it will be fun.”

Where is the Ravens’ newest unofficial recruiter? Weddle, you’re slacking on the job!

It wouldn’t hurt if this group could reach out too …

Michael Campanaro’s New Deal Worth Less Than Tender, Unless He Produces

There’s no question that when receiver/returner Michael Campanaro is on the field, he poses a threat to opposing defenses.

The problem is he hasn’t always been on the field, playing in just three games last season and 11 total games since being selected in the seventh round of the 2014 draft.

That’s why the way his new one-year deal was reportedly structured seems to make sense over the original-round tender the team initially assigned him.

The contract is reportedly worth up to $2 million, but appears to have incentives and a bonus that are only earned by being available and on the field. So he could earn more than he would on a tender by producing, but less if he’s set back by more injuries.

“The deal replaces the $1.79 million original-round restricted free agent tender and opens up about $600,000 in salary cap space for the Ravens,” wrote The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec. “Campanaro's new deal includes a $250,000 signing bonus, a $250,000 53-man roster bonus and other incentives.”

Ravens Have Room For Very Large Undrafted Rookie Class

Zrebiec pointed out that the Ravens only have 66 players on the roster (as of yesterday morning), including their exclusive rights free agents and current restricted free agents, which leaves a whopping 24 spots open on the 90-man roster that teams are allowed to have during the offseason.

It’s early, and the Ravens will add more bodies, but it still leaves room for a large undrafted rookie free agent class.

“Even if the Ravens sign a few free agents over the next couple of weeks, they’ll still have room to carry a huge rookie class into training camp,” wrote Zrebiec. “They always take undrafted free agency seriously, but this year, their scouts will be able to cast a wide net in bringing in prospects that went undrafted.”   

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