Chances Ravens Will Re-Sign 14 Free Agents
The Ravens brain trust will head to Florida after the Pro Bowl to mull over their salary cap, free agents and the potential market. It's a meeting that will initiate their offseason course in an effort to improve the roster for 2015.
Among some of the first decisions that will need to be made is determining which of their own scheduled free agents they'd like to target for return.
Those decisions will be made behind closed doors, but ESPN's Jamison Hensley gauged the chances of the Ravens' 14 unrestricted free agents returning. Below you will find Hensley's percentage, along with a comment:
RB Justin Forsett: 75 percent
"Forsett wants more than a one-year deal, and the Ravens will likely oblige. … Teams could be leery of Forsett's age (he turns 30 next season) and his ability to repeat this breakthrough season."
WR Torrey Smith: 65 percent
"What works in the Ravens' favor is that Smith is a high-character player and he has quarterback Joe Flacco in his corner."
OLB Pernell McPhee: 25 percent
"McPhee is this year's version of Arthur Jones. The Ravens want to re-sign him, but McPhee's breakout season in rushing the passer presumably prices him out of what the team could give him."
TE Owen Daniels: 60 percent"Daniels would be a good insurance policy for another year considering [Dennis] Pitta is coming off another hip injury and Crockett Gillmore is still developing."
QB Tyrod Taylor: 20 percent"Even if the Ravens don't think [2014 draft sixth-round draft pick Keith] Wenning is ready to become the primary backup, they could probably find a one-year stopgap that's just as viable as Taylor."
Corners: Danny Gorrer (35 percent), Antoine Cason (0 percent), Aaron Ross (0 percent)
The Ravens already have Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb, Asa Jackson and Rashaan Melvin set to return. Ross has ongoing injury concerns, and the Ravens used Melvin over Cason down the stretch. As for Gorrer …
"This could be a case where the Ravens sign Gorrer during the second wave of free agency if they aren't happy with what they have at cornerback after the draft and first couple months of free agency," wrote Hensley. "Gorrer has potential to develop into an adequate nickelback."
Safeties: Jeromy Miles (55 percent), Darian Stewart (50 percent)
Miles is a strong special-teams contributor, while Stewart is considered by the organization to be "underrated" and could be a good "fall-back option."
LS Morgan Cox: 85 percent DT Terrence Cody: 15 percent G/T Jah Reid: 5 percent G Will Rackley: 0 percent
Zrebiec: Little Choice But To Keep Pierce
In what was supposed to be a breakout season for running back Bernard Pierce, he finished with 93 carries for 266 yards and two touchdowns.
"He still struggles in blitz pick-up, he's not much of a threat catching passes out of the backfield and he's not used on special teams," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "With Forsett due to hit free agency, the Ravens have some uncertainty at the running back position, but it's tough to see where Pierce fits after back-to-back disappointing seasons. … It sure is jarring to see him have little to no role, especially with how clutch he was during the team's Super Bowl run two years ago."
That said, Pierce will still be under his rookie contract in 2015, reportedly taking up a reasonable $798,986 of the salary cap.
"[H]e doesn't have much trade value at this point, so I guess the Ravens have little choice but to bring him back and hope he regains the form that he showed in his rookie year," wrote Zrebiec.
Ravens Respond To Steve Smith Parking Lot ConfrontationAfter the divisional playoff loss in New England, wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. confronted and reportedly threatened to fight former Carolina Panthers teammate Jermaine Wiggins, according to CSN New England.
Wiggins, now a Boston media figure, said on-air that Smith was a "bully" and a bad locker room presence (which has not been the case in Baltimore), and Smith confronted Wiggins about those comments.
According to Patriots radio voice Scott Zolak, who witnessed the exchange, Smith yelled expletives at Wiggins and security personnel had to intervene. Zolak said the encounter didn't escalate beyond words.
The Ravens told The Baltimore Sun's Jon Meoli Tuesday that reported details of the altercation were inaccurate.
"We have talked to one of our security members* *who witnessed this conversation and it is not how it has been described," Senior Director of Public Relations Chad Steele said.
- Marshal Yanda named to the Pro Football Writers Association All-NFL team, marking his second time to the squad (2012). [ESPN]
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