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Poll: Ravens' Top Free Agent Priority?

Posted Mar 10, 2014

Between re-signing existing talent and adding free agents, what is most important?

It’s General Manager Ozzie Newsome’s time to shine.

Free agency opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The Ravens have a handful of needs and the budget to make something happen (reported $25 million in cap room).

So what is most important for Newsome to get done?

Re-sign LT Eugene Monroe
Monroe played well for 11 games in Baltimore after being acquired via trade last year. If he isn’t signed before free agency opens or quickly thereafter, another team in need of a tackle could swoop in. Current reports, however, suggest the market may have cooled for Monroe after original media reports suggested he would be highly sought after.

Re-sign DE Arthur Jones
Jones will be a popular man in free agency. He’s coming off back-to-back standout seasons. In his first year starting, Jones logged 53 tackles and four sacks. According to reports, there are six teams already expressing interest in Jones.

Re-sign ILB Daryl Smith
Smith was in many ways the heart of the Ravens defense last season in his first year. He led the team in tackles (123) and added 19 pass deflections, three interceptions and five sacks. Turning 32 in four days, Smith likely won’t be somebody that gets snatched off the market too quickly.

Re-sign WR Jacoby Jones
Jones has been a playmaker during his two years in Baltimore. He was voted to the Pro Bowl as a returner after his first season, then showed his prowess there once again last year with a touchdown against Minnesota and near score versus Pittsburgh. Jones didn’t blossom into a super-productive No. 2 wide receiver, but has been quite effective as a big-play threat.

Sign a free agent wide receiver
There are some big names on the open market at wide receiver, including the Giants’ Hakeem Nicks, Broncos’ Eric Decker, Patriots’ Julian Edelman and Seahawks’ Golden Tate. If the Ravens want any of them, they may need to act quickly because they could go fast. It will be interesting to see how teams approach them, however, with a strong draft class at wide receiver.

Sign free agent offensive linemen
Whether it’s at tackle or center, the Ravens need help along their offensive line, which struggled last year both in run blocking and pass protection. With Monroe and Michael Oher both pending unrestricted free agents, Baltimore could need help at both bookends. Newsome also said he wanted to get bigger on the interior of the offensive line, so that could come via free agency.

Sign a free agent free safety
Newsome said the Ravens want a more athletic, playmaking safety. They’re looking for somebody to play free safety so that Matt Elam can bump over to his more natural position of strong safety. Elam showed he can excel around the line of scrimmage at the end of the year. Getting a big-time safety on the back end would make the secondary quite formidable considering the cornerback corps is already looking strong.

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