Matt Forte Fits Ravens, But Only On The Surface
Baltimore was immediately named a speculative landing spot for running back Matt Forte after he announced the Chicago Bears would not re-sign him this offseason.
The idea is that Forte already knows the playbook and had success under former Bears Head Coach and current Ravens Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman. Plus, Forte wants to play for a contender and recently said his next deal is "not even about the money."
Sure, that all makes sense on the surface. But once you dig deeper, you realize it really doesn't make much sense at all.
As ESPN's Jamison Hensley points out, Forte criticized Trestman after the head coach left Chicago for not being aggressive enough and losing control of some players. The disparaging remarks came despite Forte churning out a massive 22 touchdowns and 3,779 all-purpose yards with Trestman in charge.
"Trestman is the reason why the dangerous all-purpose back is unlikely to land in Baltimore," Hensley wrote.
There are plenty of other reasons why Baltimore would be an unlikely destination.
1) The Ravens have bigger needs and little cap space.
2) The Ravens have one of their deepest running back units in recent memory with Justin Forsett, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Terrance West and Buck Allen.
3) The Ravens already have a productive running back over 30 years old that provides strong mentorship with Forsett.
Of course, Forsett hasn't had the same proven long-term success as Forte, who could be considered an upgrade. But all that success is also a knock on Forte because he has more wear on his tires with 2,500-plus career touches compared to Forsett's 996.
Former NFL agent and CBS Sports' Joel Corry believes Forte will cost between $4 and $5 million on a short-term deal in free agency. That's not a ton of money by many standards, but in Baltimore, where there is currently little to no wiggle room against the cap, that's a sizable chunk.
"The areas of weakness on the Ravens' roster, however, don't match up with what Forte offers," wrote Russell Street Report's Ryan Jones. "The Ravens need help at receiver, corner, pass rusher and safety. It would make absolutely no sense to spend what little money they have on Matt Forte."
The Ravens may very well see Forte in 2016, however, as the New England Patriots are the most popular team among analysts to nab Forte.
"He will have options, but the Patriots can make a compelling case if they make Forte a competitive offer," wrote CSNMidatlantic.com's Clifton Brown. "The Ravens did not play the Patriots in 2015, but they are on the Ravens' schedule next season. It stands to reason that Forte is also on the Patriots' radar."
Oh, and for those already beginning to moan about the Ravens not spending a lot in free agency, here's a stat to chew on about the Tampa Bay Bucs, who finished 6-10, 2-14, 4-12 and 7-9 the last four years.
Osemele, Tucker Both Top-Ranked Free Agents
Consider this another reminder that Justin Tucker will be paid top dollar and it's going to be awfully hard for the Ravens to keep Kelechi Osemele.
Both Ravens were listed at the top of Pro Football Focus' (PFF) free-agent rankings at their respective positions.
"If [Tucker] hits the free-agent market, he will be arguably the best free agent specialist available since Adam Vinatieri entered the open market in 2006," wrote PFF's Eric Eager.
Well, Tucker likely* *won't hit free agency because the Ravens would use the franchise tag to prevent that from happening, but that is lofty praise nonetheless.
As for Osemele, he was already going to be one of the top guards entering free agency, but his successful audition at left tackle may have made him even more desirable.
"Considering he'll be 27 when the season starts, Osemele is the top guard set to hit free agency," wrote Eager. "He didn't quite match his 2014 effort, but the former second-rounder still managed one of the better seasons among his peers, especially in run-blocking, where only four other guards finished with a higher grade. His pass protection hasn't been quite as good, but is still above average—in 2015, he surrendered 13 total pressures in 417 pass-blocking snaps at left guard, the eighth-best rate of 82 qualifying guards. And few players provide the versatility of being able play on the outside at tackle, where he lined up during Baltimore's last four games."
Forsett Edits Video To Make It Look Like He Can Dunk
I love that Forsett has a sense of humor about his height.
"They say I'm 5-8 so I can't dunk," Forsett says in the video below. "Here I go."
He clearly is nowhere close to the rim when he's obviously at his peak jumping point. The video suddenly cuts to a taller man dressed in similar clothing who dunks the ball.
Forsett posted the video a while back, but retweeted it this weekend with the NBA All-Star Dunk contest going on.
Maybe Arrington Stays In Baltimore After All
While contemplating potential Ravens' salary-cap casualties this offseason, one name that has frequently been mentioned among analysts is cornerback Kyle Arrington.
He didn't have the best season after signing a three-year deal reportedly worth $7 million last year. Arrington was benched a few times as the Ravens defense gave up big plays and struggled to get turnovers.
But there's reason to believe he could still stick around.
"I'm as guilty as anyone for suggesting [Arrington will be cut]," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "That's still how it might play out, but I don't feel as strongly about it as I did earlier this offseason. … At times, he was miscast as an outside cornerback because of the team's preference to keep Lardarius Webb in the slot. Arrington belongs in the slot, where he had a lot of success earlier in his career.
"With the Ravens moving Webb to safety, that could open up the slot to Arrington. Will Davis is really the only other potential slot corner on the roster, and he's coming off his second knee injury in as many years. Releasing Arrington would open up a little less than $1.5 million in salary cap space. That's not a whole lot of money when you have very little cornerback depth as it is."