THE GRAPEVINE: Ravens looking to upgrade

Lombardi's Way THE GRAPEVINE: Ravens looking to upgrade

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Malcolm Floyd is a name you hear kicked around often when it comes to solutions to the Ravens’ subpar passing game. It’s interesting to observe how much higher the stock is for Floyd in the court of popular opinion than the recently signed Donte Stallworth. However a closer look reveals some interesting statistics.

Both will be 29 years old on opening day in 2010 (Stallworth is 10 months older). Floyd has 97 career receptions totaling 1,597 yards and he’s hit paydirt 9 times in his career. Despite sitting out a season due to suspension, Stallworth has 296 catches for 4,383 yards and 32 scores.

During his workout with the team Stallworth had a blistering 4.4 time in the 40 yard dash. Now one must keep in mind as pointed out by SI’s Peter King this week, that the Ravens clock players on a surface that is historically about two-tenths of a second slower than the surfaces normally used to time players, such as that at the scouting combines.

King reported that Stallworth’s time was “the fastest time recorded on the turf by the club.” However, I was told that the Ravens have witnessed, “maybe one or two [other players who beat that number] but the time is accurate and [Stallworth] was smoking.”

For those who can’t wrap their heads around Stallworth due to his involvement in a DUI manslaughter, let me ask you this: What is worse, a DUI manslaughter or obstruction of justice in a double homicide?

I seem to recall that Ray Lewis was allowed to return to work in 2000 after paying a $250,000 fine for pleading out after that infamous double murder in Atlanta following Super Bowl XXXIV – a still unsolved crime.

What might have happened to Lewis in today’s NFL?

Can you easily envision a Ravens franchise without that Super Bowl XXXV win?

How might that have affected the club going forward?

You see sometimes when players get a second chance they deliver.

Willis McGahee is a player who delivered in a backup role in ’09 yet many believe that No. 23 will NOT be wearing a Ravens’ jersey next season. Some think that McGahee could be a match for the San Diego Chargers who just happen to have a player that could be a fit a need for the Ravens.

Cornerback Antonio Cromartie is a gifted athlete who has a reputation for playing soft and for not being a very good team player. Consequently his name is often bantered about when discussing current Chargers who could be on the move.

Now that Ladainian Tomlinson has been jettisoned by the Bolts, these talks could heat up and a swap is possible.

Possible, but not likely…

I checked in with Kevin Acee who covers the Chargers for the Union-Tribune. Acee told me that the Chargers might make that deal if it was the best deal out there. However he added that the Chargers would likely prefer a back younger than McGahee and/or a draft pick for Cromartie, a player Acee described as “a starting corner who had a pretty good season. He hasn’t had the picks, and there have been high-profile blunders. But he shut guys down too.”

Speaking of defensive backs, I was always a Derrick Martin fan when he played here in B’more. Apparently the folks who play at Lambeau Field agree.

Martin, who was traded to the Packers by the Ravens before the regular season started in 2009 in exchange for soon-to-be ex-Raven T Tony Moll, just received a two year contract extension from Green Bay. Although he performed poorly against Brett Favre and the Vikings in his only start at safety, insiders believe that Martin will be more productive going forward now that he has a year of Dom Capers’ system under his belt. Plus he has been a special teams standout.

Heading into the 2010 NFL Draft the Ravens board is normally comprised of roughly 135 to 140 names. This year we’ve learned that their board has 180 names on it. Why the relative excess? The number of talented underclassmen has jumped and most think that has to do with the looming rookie salary cap. Most observers believe that it isn’t a question of “if” but one of “when” when it comes to the rookie cap.

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and CBS Sports 1300. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, Guinness, Orange Crushes and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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