Watch John Harbaugh's Face After Learning Dwight Freeney Is Still Available
Head Coach John Harbaugh didn't explicitly say he was interested in veteran pass rusher Dwight Freeney, but Vines are worth a million words.
While speaking with reporters at the owners meetings Tuesday, reporters asked Harbaugh if the team might be interested in any of the pass rushers still on the market. Harbaugh wondered out loud who was still available.
Greg Hardy, said one reporter.
"Greg Hardy won't be a Raven, I can tell you that," Harbaugh shot back quickly, given Hardy's history with domestic violence
"That would be tough too," Harbaugh said, as Smith is suspended until mid-November for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Then a reporter threw out seven-time Pro Bowler Dwight Freeney as an option. Watch Harbaugh's face when reporters confirmed that Freeney was on the open market.
"Hint, hint?" asked ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
Hensley thought Harbaugh mentioned Freeney's name unprompted, which "makes you wonder whether he is giving out any hints on the Ravens' next signing."
It's unclear whether the Ravens would really bring Freeney to Baltimore. The team was rumored to be interested in him last season to help offset the loss of Terrell Suggs after an Achilles injury. The Ravens signed Jason Babin instead and released him less than a month later.
Meanwhile, Freeney signed with the Arizona Cardinals and proved he can still get after quarterbacks as he helped the team advance to the NFC championship game. At 35, Freeney notched nine sacks in 13 games with the Cardinals, including one in the playoffs.
The reason Baltimore passed on Freeney last year, per Hensley, is because his salary demands were ultimately too high. He signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals for a reported $870,000 and $1 million in sack incentives.
The Ravens still expect Suggs to be ready for the season opener, and maybe sooner, so Freeney, or another potential free-agent pass-rusher, would be a rotational player. That would not only suit Freeney, but also Suggs and Dumervil as all three veterans are over 30 years old.
"The Ravens wanted to improve their pass rush this offseason, but the top free agents (Olivier Vernon, Malik Jackson, Mario Williams, Tamba Hali and Jason Pierre-Paul) were signed fast to big-money deals," wrote Hensley. "That's why Baltimore could realistically be interested in Freeney."
Harbaugh Praised For 'Smart' Replay Proposal, But It's Still Unlikely To Pass
Harbaugh sounded a lot like a presidential candidate campaigning for votes yesterday, as he made his case for expanding replays to everything except eight judgement calls.
He spent a majority of his hour-long session with media on the topic, and he convinced several of the reporters in attendance. But that doesn't mean he convinced the league to pass his proposal (results should come later today.)
To read/watch Harbaugh's (passionate) arguments for the rule proposal, Garrett Downing covered it in-depth here. TheMMQB.com's Peter King especially liked Harbaugh's argument that reviewing hits would make the game safer.
"With the increasing emphasis on rules to make the game safer, this is a slam dunk," King wrote. "The same people who beg for more protection for players on such hits should speak up now in support of the Ravens' proposal—because, as Harbaugh says, it's a matter of time before it's included in reviewable calls. Maybe a tweak would be to not expand challenges to three. But the overriding intent of the Baltimore proposal is a smart one."
And reviewing non-judgement calls on replay?
"Smart idea. I fear that it's not two or three years down the road, and that's just wrong," King concluded.
Ravens Essentially Waiting For Richardson To Get Into Top Shape Before Signing
What's up with the delay on signing veteran running back Trent Richardson?
Well, Harbaugh explained that the Ravens have an "unofficial agreement" with Richardson, but said making it official is in Richardson's "court."
"I text with Trent all the time. He's keeping me posted on his training," Harbaugh said yesterday.
Translation, Jeff Zrebiec?
AFC North Free Agency Grades
The folks at Pro Football Focus are not impressed with the Ravens' offseason so far, giving the franchise a C grade after signing safety Eric Weddle, tight end Benjamin Watson and wide receiver Mike Wallace.
But the Ravens also lost offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele and linebacker Daryl Smith left after Baltimore cut him. They also released Will Hill after he received his fourth NFL suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
"The Ravens did little to improve their roster coming off a disappointing season," wrote PFF's John Breitenbach. "Losing Osemele is a blow, especially considering that he offers the versatility to play tackle if necessary, but the Ravens' reluctance to give two guards top money is understandable.
"Eric Weddle provides a ready-made replacement. He's been one of our highest-graded safeties over the years, recording cumulative grades of at least 5.5 in each of his eight seasons. The next-best transaction was retaining Justin Tucker, who remains one of the top kickers in the league. The Ravens could have looked at upgrading on Shareece Wright, who gave up a 116.5 passer rating in 2015, but he still graded positively. We don't expect Ben Watson or Mike Wallace to make much of an impact, but the latter, in particular, offers some upside as a deep-threat."
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