When free agency begins a week from tomorrow, which players from other teams will the Ravens attempt to sign?
Daryl Smith and Eugene Monroe are the two biggest contributors from last year’s team that the Ravens would like to have back. Other players like Jacoby Jones, Arthur Jones and Corey Graham helped the team a lot but may be asking for too much money.
Jacoby Jones may be especially tough to re-sign for three reasons. First, he carried a $4.9 million cap figure last season. Second, his offensive role could be taken away in the very likely event the Ravens spend a high draft pick on a wide receiver. Third, players like Deonte Thompson, Lardarius Webb and Asa Jackson have proven to be dynamic returners.
It would be nice if Jacoby Jones and Vonta Leach (who had his contract terminated last Thursday) could stay in Baltimore. They still have good football left in them and they’d be playing on an offense coordinated by their old head coach (Gary Kubiak).
Kubiak’s transition would be made easier if he was able to coach some of his old players. However in the event a Texans free agent wants to sign with the Ravens, the Ravens might not need him if they already have depth at that position.
But the question is worth asking: Are there any current Texans that would meet needs the Ravens have without breaking the bank? If so, it’s something John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome need to look into.
Of the six offensive unrestricted free agents currently on the Texans roster, I think three of them would fit well in Baltimore.
Greg Jones, Fullback
2013 stats: 2 carries, 2 yards; 5 receptions, 34 yards
2013 cap hit: $1 million
Why Ravens should explore signing him: Unless the Ravens are planning on exclusively running a one-back set, they’d do well to think about signing Jones. He won’t cost a lot and looks to initiate contact. The man is a tank.
Although it was back in his college days, this clip shows you how punishing Greg Jones’ brand of football can be.
Garrett Graham, Tight End
2013 stats: 49 receptions, 545 yards, 5 touchdowns
2013 cap hit: $750,025
Why Ravens should explore signing him: Though Dennis Pitta is now under contract for the next five years, the Ravens and Kubiak should still seek a second tight end for their offense. Ed Dickson hasn’t put up the numbers to merit a starter’s contract. As it is, he earned almost twice ($1.323 million) what Graham earned last year, so Graham would likely give Baltimore more production for comparable money.
Ben Tate, Running Back
2013 stats: 181 carries, 771 yards, 4 touchdowns; 34 receptions, 140 yards
2013 cap hit: $899,250
Why Ravens should explore signing him: It’s no secret the Ravens want to add running back depth. Look at their roster. Who is capable of playing well for extended time besides Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce? They brought in Bernard Scott and Shaun Draughn last season to alleviate the pressure on Rice and Pierce, but Scott and Draughn only totaled eight carries for 16 yards.
Besides the fact that Tate played his high school football in Maryland, he played well in Kubiak’s offense over the past three years. Even though he played behind one of the best running backs in the league (Arian Foster), Tate still averaged 4.7 yards per carry and 4.9 yards per reception as a Texan.
Of the available Texans, signing Tate makes the most sense for the Ravens. They’d be signing a young player that fits a need, won’t demand a lot of money and is familiar with the area.
But most importantly he has produced in Kubiak’s offense.