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Eisenberg: Free Agents Ravens Could Still Sign


Once they're done signing their rookies, the Ravens reportedly will have around $4 million in salary cap room, half of which they'll keep in reserve for emergencies. That gives them some room to maneuver.

 Count on them taking advantage of it.

"As you all well know, we're not done as far as building this football team," Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome told reporters after the draft earlier this month.

We "well know" it because he adds key players every year in the summer months, long after spring's free agent frenzy has died out. This is Newsome's favorite time to shop, when there are veterans with track records available and bargains to be had.

In recent years, he has signed linebacker Daryl Smith in June, signed fullback Vonta Leach in late July, traded for cornerback Josh Wilson and receiver Lee Evans during training camp, and picked up safety James Ihedigbo and tackle Bryant McKinnie after they were cut in camp. All were penciled in as starters for the Ravens.

But it's one thing to know the Ravens are going to make moves, and another thing entirely to know WHERE they're going to make moves, i.e., which positions.

Now that the draft is over, I'm guessing they'll let the OTA/minicamp season play out for the most part, giving them time to judge how much help they'll likely get from certain rookies and other young players. Once they make those judgments, they'll move accordingly.

Certain positions look pretty full to me. I don't see them adding a veteran at running back, wide receiver, tight end, center, linebacker or safety.

Here's my best guess as to the likely spots where they'll add:

-        Cornerback

After losing Corey Graham in free agency, they need to identify their No. 3 guy to support starters Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb. It's almost a starting gig because so many opponents use three-receiver sets, and for now, Chykie Brown has it, with Asa Jackson and several undrafted free agents also in the mix. But regardless of who is the No. 3, it's a position where the Ravens could use more depth after not drafting a cornerback for the first time since 2010. Some decent veterans are available, including Terrell Thomas, 29, a solid contributor for the Giants in 2013; Asanti Samuel, 33, a four-time Pro Bowler; and Dominique Franks, 26.

-         Offensive line

This one is obvious. The Ravens went into the draft with a tackle high on their wish list, but they stuck to their best-player-available philosophy and didn't end up with one. For the record, it was a question about a tackle that led Newsome to declare he wasn't done adding players. "If the opportunity presents itself for us to acquire a player to play tackle if we need to, we'll be able to do it," he said. Eric Winston, 30, has been mentioned as a possible fit, and he is still available, as is Tyson Clabo, 32, who played for the Falcons and then Miami last year. There is also "a glut of experienced guards" on the market, according to Pro Football Talk, including former Pro Bowler Davin Joseph.

-        Defensive line

Although the Ravens hope their 2014 second-round draft pick, Timmy Jernigan, is a major addition, young defensive linemen typically need some seasoning before they're ready to carry a load. Meanwhile, Ravens Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees likes to rotate as many as six guys on Sundays. Right now, he's got Haloti Ngata, Chris Canty, Terrence Cody, Brandon Williams, DeAngelo Tyson, Kapron Lewis-Moore and Jernigan along with 2014 fourth-round pick Brent Urban and several other young guys. That's a lot of names, but a large question still looms: Who is replacing Arthur Jones? Kevin Williams, 34, longtime mainstay for the Vikings, is unsigned.

-        Quarterback

Joe Flacco is the starter, rookie Keith Wenning is probably the No. 3, and Tyrod Taylor is under contract for 2014, so it doesn't appear to be a position of need. But it would cost the Ravens virtually nothing to part ways with Taylor, and new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak might want a backup more experienced in his system, like David Carr. In Houston, a bunch of backups such as Case Keenum, T.J. Yates and Ryan Fitzpatrick are fighting for the No. 1 spot on Kubiak's former team.

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