Ravens Interested In Adam "Pacman" Jones
Nobody expected the Shareece Wright signing to be the Ravens' final move at the cornerback position, but I'm not sure anyone expected the first rumored move would be for the Bengals' Adam "Pacman" Jones.
Along with several other teams, the Ravens are showing interest in the controversial player, according to ProFootballTalk.com.
"[T]he Ravens have joined the chase for a thirtysomething defensive back who has overcome plenty of (self-imposed) adversity to become a great player in recent years," wrote Mike Florio.
Other teams reportedly in the mix include the Bengals, Browns, Dolphins, Raiders, Cowboys, and Vikings.
Jones has been one of the most effective corners in the league, rated as the 15th-best last year by Pro Football Focus. As the Ravens try to beef up their interceptions in 2016, Jones could help as he's notched three in each of the last three years. The entire Ravens defense had six total picks last year.
Jones' production is not the major question, even though some wonder if he will start to fade at 33 years old. But his behavior is the bigger question.
"Baltimore's interest in Jones is surprising because of his arrest history and his status as an unrestricted free agent," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "The Ravens typically pursue players who've been cut because it doesn't count against their compensatory pick total.
"The bigger issue with Jones is his run-ins with police, with the latest coming in 2013, and his emotional outbursts. After a playoff loss to the Steelers in January, Jones posted an expletive-filled rant on Instagram that ripped the refs. His fine for bumping into an official that game was reportedly reduced to $12,500."
Raiders Offering Huge Money To Kelechi Osemele
UPDATE: The Oakland Raiders and Kelechi Osemele have reached an agreement in principle, according to the NFL Network's Rand Getlin. The deal can't be officially announced until the new league year opens Wednesday at 4 p.m.
We all had a feeling this would happen.
A team with an obscene amount of cap space would target left guard/tackle Kelechi Osemele with an offer that was too rich for the Ravens' blood.
That's exactly what seems to be happening with the Oakland Raiders, who have the NFL's second-most cap room with upwards of an eye-popping $65 million, according to Spotrac. The Vikings are also reportedly in the mix for Osemele with $26 million in cap space. (To put that in perspective, Spotrac has the Ravens at $10.5 million available.)
We don't know what the Ravens' "aggressive" offer to Osemele was before the legal tampering period began Monday, but it was reportedly for the second-most money on the Ravens offense. That means it likely would have eclipsed Marshal Yanda's $7.98 million per year average.
That's a far cry from "well in excess of $10 million." That kind of contract would make him among the top-10 paid NFL offensive linemen.
The Raiders remain in a "stalemate" with their current left tackle, Donald Penn, who looks primed to hit the free-agent market himself, according to CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora. So Osemele would project as their new left tackle. Whereas, he would fit in as the Vikings' left guard, unless they part ways with Matt Kalil, says Florio.
Wherever he goes, "the Ravens are bracing for Osemele to leave via free agency," reported Florio.
If anyone believes the Ravens should fight for Osemele with an offer to match that of the Raiders or Vikings, WNST's Luke Jones cautions against such a move.
"It's clear by now that Baltimore made a mistake investing a five-year, $37.5 million contract in Monroe," wrote Jones. "General Manager Ozzie Newsome shouldn't compound that error by paying too much for the mere chance of Osemele being able to stick at left tackle for the long haul. Other teams have the flexibility to keep an open mind about where the fifth-year lineman will play, but this only works for the Ravens if he becomes their long-term left tackle."
If the Ravens are already expecting to part ways with Osemele, that means Newsome has also likely moved on to Plan B and has a C or D in his back pocket. What will that look like?
"[T]hat could include keeping injury-prone left tackle Eugene Monroe, hoping former undrafted free agents James Hurst and De'Ondre Wesley can grow into the position, or using the sixth overall pick in April's draft on Notre Dame's Ronnie Stanley," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
Numbers Coming In On Wright Deal
We're starting to get numbers on Wright's three-year deal, but still need a few more.
He can make "up to" $16 million, with $5 million guaranteed and a $4 million signing bonus, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.
"The Ravens have much more depth at cornerback than last year at this time," wrote Hensley. "Along with [Jimmy] Smith and Wright, Baltimore returns Will Davis, who showed promise before his season-ending injury; Kyle Arrington, who struggled at times but has experience; and Tray Walker, who is in his second season after being selected in the fourth round.
"Let's just not forget that the Ravens still need a playmaker. … This move just shouldn't stop the Ravens from drafting a cornerback early in this year's draft."
Spread Of Draft Experts Projections At No. 6
SB Nation is continuing to tally draft pundits' projections to the Ravens, and it looks like the most popular pick for the Ravens continues to be Notre Dame left tackle Ronnie Stanley.
The player who has had a recent surge is Ohio State pass rusher Joey Bosa after a little bit of his luster wore off with a slow 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine last month.
Ravens Need To Start Thinking About Brandon Williams Contract
While the Ravens are wheeling and dealing with this year's free agents, it wouldn't be surprising if Newsome already had his eye on some of his top players that are scheduled to hit the market next year.
Perhaps the person that tops that list is defensive tackle Brandon Williams.
"At some point – if it hasn't happened already – the Ravens figure to at least explore contract extension talks with [Williams] this season," wrote Zrebiec.
"Williams is entering the final year on his rookie contract, and as one of the NFL's best nose tackles, he's ready to cash in. The Ravens should get a better idea about how much he'll cost when they see the deals that this year's top free agent defensive linemen, a group that includes the New York Jets' Damon Harrison and the San Francisco 49ers' Ian Williams, get on the open market."
Cox Earned Five-Year Deal
Baltimore locked up its long snapper for the next five years after it already signed punter Sam Koch to a long-term deal and placed the franchise tag on kicker Justin Tucker.
This was the last move to keep the Wolfpack together for at least this season, and hopefully beyond with the team working on a multi-year deal with Tucker.
"This long-term deal [for Cox] represents a well-deserved reward," Hensley wrote. "Cox received only a one-year deal last offseason from the Ravens after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament midway through the 2014 season. He proved he successfully came back in 2015 with his first Pro Bowl season."
Baltimore Colts DB Elmer Wingate Dies
Elmer H. Wingate Jr., 87, who played one season with the Baltimore Colts in 1953, died on Feb. 27 of Alzheimer's disease, according to The Baltimore Sun.
Wingate was also an All-American football and lacrosse player at the University of Maryland. He grew up in the Hamilton neighborhood and attended Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. His father owned a barbershop on Harford Road.
"Mr. Wingate stayed in touch with many former Colts players and later served on a committee that helped bring the statute of Colts legend Johnny Unitas to the entrance of M&T Bank Stadium," wrote The Sun's Carrie Wells. "He was inducted into the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.
"Mr. Wingate played defensive end in the National Football League when the sport was held in less esteem than baseball, five years before the Colts would play what became known as the Greatest Game Ever Played against the New York Giants. He wasn't paid well, and with the arrival of a new baby, Mr. Wingate decided to try a new career working as a salesman for the National Brewing Co., which at that time brewed National Bohemian and Colt 45."