I wasn’t sure it would be possible to be more excited about an upcoming Ravens’ season than I was last year, but I am.
The addition of Dante Stallworth for a bargain price is a great risk/reward. If he can stay healthy he will make a difference on the field, and his off the field issue shouldn’t be an issue any longer. He took responsibility for the DWI and served his time and suspension without complaint. Signing Anquan Boldin was a huge upgrade. It’s trite, but he does play like a Raven. And, they resigned Derrick Mason, giving them 2 solid tough guys. I expect they’ll keep Mark Clayton, and will pick up a guy or two who can play special teams and catch the football. I’d like to see them find a way to keep Kelley Washington as he’s a fun player; I don’t know that there’s room.
Losing Bannan and Edwards stinks, but they both got contracts that were more than their value to the team. Good for them, and I hope they both have success. Picking up Cory Redding is probably a net negative at DT, but he’s got promise. Again, I think there might be another move to grab a D Lineman soon; and with Suggs in town for workouts and trying to come into camp in better shape than last year (without any contract BS) should give them a solid outside pass rush. Redding has the ability to bring some flexibility as an inside or outside pass rusher.
The two areas of concern right now are tight end and corner. Todd Heap isn’t the player he was, I’d like to see a young TE get groomed to replace him in a few years. I think the corners will be solid, but I’m not sure Webb will be ready to go at the start of the season.
As in the past, though, the roster looks solid enough that they can go get the best player available in the draft, which is the strategy I prefer.
I still think we might see a deal that moves Troy Smith or (more likely) Willis McGahee. Smith has said he wants to go elsewhere for a shot to start. I don’t see any opportunity for him and would like him to stay a Raven, but certainly think they will let him go if someone matches his tender. McGahee has more gas in the tank to be a starter; again I like the role he plays here, but he’s an expensive second back.
All in all, they are going to be a better team next year. That’s exciting.
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