If Lardarius Webb Is Moving To Safety, Will He Accept Safety Money?
Lardarius Webb acknowledged this week that he sees himself switching from cornerback to safety in the future, a move that seems positive for both him and the secondary.
"There's only one problem," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "Actually, there are $9.5 million problems, to be specific. Webb is playing under a contract signed when he was a cornerback and not a safety."
If Webb indeed makes a permanent move to safety, his salary would rank the third-highest among all NFL safeties behind New Orleans Saints' Jairus Byrd ($10.9 million) and Seattle Seahawks' Earl Thomas ($9.9 million). For further perspective, Webb would cost $1 million more than future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed in his final season ($8.8 million) in Baltimore.
Nobody is questioning moving Webb to safety. He brings leadership, knowledge of the NFL game and perhaps the best hands and ball skills of the secondary, which could help create much-needed turnovers the unit lacked this season with a league-low six interceptions.
But Webb has one career start at safety (after playing there full-time in college), and his currently-scheduled 2016 contract pays him like he's one of the best. That's a "very expensive unknown."
"The 30-year-old may very well be an upgrade from recent options such as Kendrick Lewis and Darian Stewart, but the Ravens would need Pro Bowl-quality play to justify that price tag," wrote WNST's Luke Jones.
To Jones' point, Byrd is a three-time Pro Bowler and Thomas has been to the All-Star game a whopping five times. Safeties simply aren't paid as much as corners in the NFL. The Chargers' Eric Weddle's 2015 league-high safety cap hit was about $6 million less than the Jets' Darrelle Revis' NFL-high corner cap number.
Webb has shown a willingness in the past to take a pay cut. Last March, he reduced his 2016 base salary by $2.5 million, per Hensley. Would he take even less with a position change?
"There's just no way of knowing he can do that [on the field], making it likely that Webb will be cut if he isn't willing to further adjust his contract that expires after the 2017 season," wrote Jones.
Could Ravens Defensive Coaches Leave For Colts Job?
After signing a four-year extension to be the head coach in Indianapolis, Chuck Pagano fired his Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky Tuesday, leaving a vacancy that many assistant coaches covet.
Given his roots in Baltimore, Pagano could look to the Ravens coaching staff for candidates, and The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec wonders if Pagano could pluck Linebackers Coach Ted Monachino or Defensive Line Coach Clarence Brooks for the job.
"That question is at least worth pondering," wrote Zrebiec.
"The Ravens probably wouldn't allow either to leave for the same position in a lateral move, but their coach, John Harbaugh, doesn't stand in the way if his assistants get promotions elsewhere."
Both Monachino and Brooks are highly respected in the Ravens organization, both by coaches and players. Per Zrebiec, Monachino has been viewed the successor at defensive coordinator behind Dean Pees.
"However, an opportunity could potentially come sooner with the Colts," wrote Zrebiec. "If Monachino did leave, it would be a blow to the Ravens, and to outside linebacker Terrell Suggs. Monachino coached Suggs at Arizona State and the two are extremely close."
Hindsight Of Not Experimenting With Osemele Sooner
If only the Ravens had experimented with Kelechi Osemele at left tackle sooner.
That's the thought Jones had while contemplating a complicated situation, as many speculate whether Eugene Monroe will be cut and if Osemele will be given a second contract. The only problem is, the Ravens *couldn't *conduct that experiment.
The first time it was considered, per Jones, was after Super Bowl XLVII when then-left tackle Bryant McKinnie was an unrestricted free agent. McKinnie was ultimately re-signed, did not perform up to expectations and was cut. That's when General Manager Ozzie Newsome traded valuable fourth- and fifth picks for Monroe in October of 2013.
"Had Osemele not been dealing with a chronic back issue at the time that eventually required season-ending surgery, he could have been a real option to move outside, but it's difficult to fault the Ravens for not wanting to try it when he was already struggling just to perform at his regular left guard position," wrote Jones. "Instead, Monroe arrived and played so well over the remainder of the season that the Ravens awarded him with a five-year, $37.5 million contract.
"If the 2012 second-round pick had been healthy, perhaps he would have gotten his chance then and become Baltimore's long-term left tackle a few years ago."
Ravens' Biggest Draft Need: Corner
Guess who officially declared for the draft yesterday?
Florida State's Jalen Ramsey did. Ramsey is listed at the top of draft guru Mel Kiper's cornerback rankings and listed as the third-best player overall in the 2016 NFL Draft class.
"Today, after having in-depth discussions with my parents, my coaches and others whom I hold dear to my heart, I am announcing my decision to pursue my dream, forgo my senior year of football at Florida State and declare for the 2016 NFL draft," Ramsey said in the statement.
In Todd McShay's first mock draft, he had the Ravens taking Ramsey, but that was back when Baltimore was believed to have the No. 4 overall pick. Will Ramsey still be available when the Ravens are on the clock at No. 6?
"Ramsey can do it all in the secondary: match up in the slot, play center field and stuff the run," wrote McShay. "It's no surprise, then, that he's a terrific athlete, winning the ACC long-jump title as part of Florida State's track and field team earlier this year. One of the most complete players in this class, Ramsey would be a welcome addition to a Ravens secondary that has struggled the past few seasons."
While there are needs for a pass rusher and more speed at receiver, Hensley believes cornerback is the Raven's biggest need this offseason.
"This has been the most neglected position on the defense," Hensley wrote. "The Ravens have selected a cornerback in the first three rounds only once in the past six drafts.
"With a top-10 pick in the draft, Baltimore should cross its fingers that it can land one of the top two cornerbacks (Ramsey or Florida's Vernon Hargreaves III). In a division with the likes of Antonio Brown and A.J. Green, the Ravens can't have a hole at corner."
Not A Dry Eye After Ray Lewis Talks On Steve Harvey Show
Future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis was a guest on the "Steve Harvey Show" Tuesday to promote his new book, "I Feel Like Going On: Life, Game, and Glory."
Lewis shared stories from his book, including how he got his name from a man he never met until his junior year in high school. He also teamed up with Harvey in offering guidance to a mother and her 18-year-old son, who wants to play college and NFL football, but has jeopardized that with some off-the-field troubles.
There isn't a dry eye in the house as Lewis has another signature motivational chat with the young man. You can watch his appearance in the two YouTube videos below.