It seems that whenever another NFL team jettisons a well known player, that player becomes the topic of talk radio and message board threads. Usually Ravens fans will debate the ways in which Ozzie Newsome should pursue such players and how the proposed acquisition might strengthen the team. Today’s flavor of the week is DeAngelo Hall.
Earlier in the week I suggested that Hall would not be a fit for the Ravens. He has struggled with the Raiders in press coverage and his experience suggests that he is better suited to a Cover 2 style of defense.
But the topic of Hall just won’t go away and will likely linger as long as Hall remains a free agent. So I decided to explore the idea a bit more with sources close to the team and the responses were interesting.
First, Hall was referred to as MeAngelo Hall because of his pattern of selfishness. His history suggests that he’s more interested in stats and he’s had some run-ins with assistant coaches as well. And although he isn’t really a thug off the field in the mold of Chris Henry or Pacman Jones, he’s not exactly a choir boy.
When I asked how Rob Ryan (Rex’s brother) felt about Hall, let’s just say the response wasn’t very flattering. I also remembered that Ravens’ special teams coach Jerry Rosburg had some exposure to Hall in Atlanta. I was told his feelings somewhat mirror those of Rob Ryan.
But that aside, the Ravens do believe that Hall can cover well despite his recent struggles in Oakland. Hall has been targeted by Raiders’ opponents not because he is a slumping corner. He is simply a more inviting target than Nnamdi Asomugha who is playing lights out.
The Ravens believe that playing with Ray Lewis humbles younger players like Hall who will turn 25 later this month. They believe that he would toe the line and contribute to a secondary that could use some help. They also believe that Hall would be nothing more than a short-term fix for the balance of the year with no commitment at this time beyond 2008 – much like a Manny Ramirez acquisition by the Dodgers. Hall would be viewed as a hired gun of sorts.
The team wants to be careful not to take on additional long-term expenses with Hall because the Ravens are much more interested in re-signing their home grown talent. The big question is, will Hall be willing to accept a contract for the balance of ’08 with no promises? Given the number of teams that will likely line-up to inquire about Hall’s services, the answer is probably no.
Don’t expect the Ravens to be aggressive in the Hall sweepstakes. They will not set the market but rather lurk in the bushes and wait to see if Hall slips to them. They might then sell Hall on the values of playing in the Ravens’ system and even if he doesn’t stay with the team beyond ’08, the experience could position him for another big pay day down the road.
Hall in Ravens’ purple could happen, but it will have to happen on the Ravens terms and that isn’t very likely.
Just remember Ozzie’s credo, “right player right price.”