Could Ravens Land Woodson?
The Ravens could end up losing a future Hall of Famer in their secondary if safety Ed Reed decides to go elsewhere in free agency.
If that happens, could they replace him with another defender likely destined for Canton?
Charles Woodson is available.
The 15-year veteran was released by the Packers last week after spending the last seven seasons in Green Bay, and ESPN.com's John Clayton sees the Ravens as a likely destination for him.
"The reason I say Baltimore is, what ends up happening if Ed Reed ends up leaving the Baltimore Ravens and going all the way up to New England and going up to Bill Bilichick?" Clayton said. "That's going to open up a spot for a safety/cornerback, and Woodson would fit in perfectly there."
Clayton also mentioned the Patriots as a landing spot for Woodson, depending what happens with Reed.
Woodson is an eight-time Pro Bowler, seven-time All Pro selection, and four years removed from winning the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year Award. Injuries limited him to just seven games last season, but the 36-year-old defensive back still has the ability to compete for a starting job and, at a minimum, could provide leadership to the secondary.
The Ravens will not have much cap room to spend, but Woodson won't carry the big price tag like some of the other prized free agents because it's so late in his career. He could end up cheaper than Reed, depending on the contract length that Reed seeks.
Woodson has played safety for the last few years in Green Bay after moving from cornerback because is cover skills had diminished. He thrived with the move to safety, but ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley doesn’t think he would be the best candidate to step in for Reed.
"Woodson wouldn't be the ideal replacement for Reed, outside of his leadership and cheaper price tag," Hensley wrote. "The Ravens have a thumper in strong safety Bernard Pollard and need someone to fill Reed's role as the center fielder on defense. Woodson's cover skills have declined, which is why he made the move from cornerback to safety in 2012."
Even if the Ravens were to bring in Woodson to give the team some depth, in the late stage of his career, he wants to play for a team that's going to compete for a Super Bowl. And that makes the reigning Super Bowl champions an intriguing destination.
"You know this is a winning team that he wants to be with," Clayton said. "It's a Super Bowl contender."
Get Pierce More Touches
CSNBaltimore.com is in the midst of a series examining areas where the Ravens need to improve next year, and writer J. Michael has an idea for the offense.
"Bernard Pierce gets more touches," he wrote.
The running back came on strong during the second half of the season and into playoffs, showing his power and big-play ability. His emergence coincided with a time when starter Ray Rice had fumbling problems in the postseason.
"Rice's statistics were down across the board – 221 less yards rushing and 226 less receiving -- in part because of how he was used and how the rookie Pierce was not," Michael wrote. "The goal was to preserve Rice, who had led all players in the NFL with yards from scrimmage in 2011 with more than 2,000, for the second half of the season. The Ravens could've accomplished that simply by using Pierce more early."
With a full offseason to work under Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell, and the hiring of Juan Castillo as the run game coordinator, Michael expects the overall running game to take big strides in 2013.
"Castillo worked extensively with the offensive line and blocking schemes and figures to be a good fit, which means a renewed emphasis on running for Baltimore," he wrote.
Oher, Graham Get Pay Bump
Offensive tackle Michael Oher and cornerback Corey Graham both triggered playing-time escalator clauses in their contracts,* *boosting their base salaries for 2013, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.
Oher started every game of the year, playing left tackle during the regular season before sliding over to the right side for the playoffs. He's now due a base salary of $3.8 million compared to $3.1 million, Wilson wrote.
Graham moved into a starting role midway through the season after injuries to Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith. He played well as a starter, and kept his job even when Smith returned from the injury. Taking on a starting role bumped Graham's pay to $2.05 million from $1.8 million.
Ravens Increase Ticket Prices
For the first time since 2009, the Ravens have decided to increase ticket prices at M&T Bank Stadium for the 2013-2014 season.
The decision to raise the prices was made prior to the team winning Super Bowl XLVII.
"We are thoughtful and detailed in our study of our ticket prices. We did a lot of research plus comparisons to other NFL teams, other events, and also most importantly, our budget," senior Vice President for Public and Community Relations Kevin Byrne said. "Our ticket price increase is always related to player cost. There's always spending what is necessary to field a championship-caliber team."
The Ravens had increased ticket prices every other year from 2001 to 2009, but they held off on an increase in 2011 and again last season. Ticket prices will stay at the revised prices for at least the next two seasons.
The ticket increase comes at a time when the Ravens are making plans to make renovations at M&T Bank Stadium, which are expected to be announced late in the week.
- The Jets released inside linebacker and former Raven Bart Scott as part of a salary dump yesterday. [NFL.com]
- @RavensInsider: "For those asking, I would say a reunion between Ravens and Bart Scott is unlikely. Expecting them to go young at inside linebacker." [Twitter]
- @TorreySmithWR: "It's almost combine time...fun to watch...when it's all said and done you realize numbers are overrated...you gotta play the game."
- Former Ravens and current NFLPA President Domonique Foxworth says that the players do not trust Commissioner Roger Goodell. The commissioner's handling of the New Orleans Saints bounty case is a large source of the distrust, Foxworth said. [Associated Press]
- Jeff Zrebiec: "Out of the big four - Reed, Ellerbe, C.Williams and Kruger - I think the Ravens would be lucky to retain two of those guys." [The Baltimore Sun]
- Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley was ripped by an anonymous teammate in the press, who said that Woodley needs to step up his work ethic. "He was awful. He tells us he works out, but we didn't see it. He wasn't in shape. That has to be a reason why he was always hurt," the player said. [CSNBaltimore.com]