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Ravens Hope To Keep Cornerbacks Intact, Including Corey Graham


General Manager Ozzie Newsome has said on a number of occasions that a team can never have enough good cornerbacks.

That philosophy was evident this season, as cornerback was arguably the Ravens' best and deepest position group with Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb and Corey Graham leading the way. With the way the three defenders played this season, the Ravens hope to keep the group intact going into next year.

"The cornerback position is a big strength for us," Head Coach John Harbaugh said this week. "That's something that we [would] really like to hold together."

Graham, 28, is the only cornerback set to become a free agent. Smith is signed through next year with a team option for 2015, and Webb is signed through 2017.

Graham told reporters during locker cleanout day that he wants to remain with the Ravens, and Harbaugh stressed that the feeling is mutual.

"If we could keep Corey in the fold – and Ozzie feels the same way – we're going to do everything we can to do it," Harbaugh said.

Graham played every game this season as the No. 3 cornerback, and he finished with 74 tackles and a team-high four interceptions.

He could generate some solid interest on the free-agent market. He won't get top cornerback money, but he could have put himself out of the Ravens' price range with his play the last two seasons. Graham initially came to Baltimore as a special teams ace, but injuries forced him into the starting lineup and he capitalized on his chances to play.

Harbaugh compared Graham's free agency status to some of the other key players the Ravens have lost in recent years, like outside linebacker Paul Kruger and inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe.

"We've had a lot of guys over the years we've wanted to keep here that we haven't been able to do it," Harbaugh said.

With reserves Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson both under contract, all five corners could return. Keeping that much consistency is rare in the salary cap era.

"We'd be in good shape there," Harbaugh said. "If we lose Corey, then we're going to have to do something where we're going to have to add a corner to the mix for next year."

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