ANOTHER RAVEN ARRESTED
Over the weekend, offensive lineman Jah Reid was arrested in Florida on two misdemeanor charges of battery. Reid is the third Raven since the offseason began who has had a run-in with the law, after running back Ray Rice and Deonte Thompson found themselves in legal trouble as well.
The story goes like this, per Matt Zentiz of The Carroll County Times: Early Sunday morning Reid was bumped into by another man at a bar, and after a short argument, Reid head-butted the man and then began to punch and kick him. Reid also threw a punch at a bar security guard, and the officer suffered slight injuries to his face, including a split lip.
Reid was a third-round pick by the Ravens in the 2011 draft, and has played sparingly in his time on the team. He did not start a game in 2013 but did see time on the field in 10 of the games as a reserve. He started seven games in 2012 due to need at offensive guard but had season-ending foot surgery and did not return at a high level.
With the issues the Ravens have had staying out of trouble so far this offseason, it would not be surprising to see the team cut the reserve lineman to set an example for the other players. Legal troubles are rarely tolerated by the Ravens, and with the frequency they are currently occurring, something needs to be done.
FLACCO STEPPING UP TO LEAD WORKOUTS
With voluntary offseason conditioning just one month away, quarterback Joe Flacco has already made it clear he plans to work harder than ever this offseason to improve upon his frustrating 2013 season. After signing a six-year contract last offseason, Flacco finished 2013 with a career-high 22 interceptions, and a career-worst 8-8 record.
That’s why Flacco is currently working with his receivers to organize offseason workouts of his own, something hinted at by tight end Dennis Pitta during his press conference last week. “We’ve talked about it, and nothing is set in stone, but I know that’s something Joe wants to get done,” Pitta said.
Flacco has done similar things in the past, but it will be arguably more important than ever this offseason. After the 2013 season ended, former offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell was hired to be the head coach of the Detroit Lions, and the Ravens hired Gary Kubiak to take his place. Kubiak is currently refining his playbook for 2014.
Flacco made no bones after the end of last season that he needed to step his game up, and that the entire team needed to elevate their performance as well. Holding the offseason workouts with his receiver corps is an excellent first step in the right direction to improve the team in 2014.
RAVENS SIGN ALBERT McClellan TO 2 YEAR DEAL
With special teams standout and reserve linebacker Albert McClellan set to become a restricted free agent this week, the Ravens signed the versatile contributor to a two-year contract. The financial terms are currently unknown, but are expected to be released soon.
McClellan went undrafted before his rookie season in 2010, but has contributed over the last three seasons to the tune of 80 career tackles and one career sack. McClellan combined with Courtney Upshaw primarily to back up outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil in 2013.
The real value in McClellan however is in his ability to play on special teams, where he registered a career-high 12 tackles in 2013. His flexibility and ability to line up at any of the linebacker positions in a pinch is also valued highly by the Ravens, who just released linebacker Jameel McClain a couple weeks ago.
McClellan’s most significant playing time came during the 2012 season, when he had 49 tackles. McClellan is not a flashy player, but an important cog on special teams, and a good backup on defense. His signing leaves wide receiver Tandon Doss as the team’s lone restricted free agent.
MONROE MAY RETURN AFTER ALL
Last week it was reported that left tackle Eugene Monroe was unlikely to return to Baltimore in 2014, with the two sides unable to agree to terms. Monroe reportedly hoped to command $10 million a year but the Ravens were only looking to offer between $8-9 million per year. However on Sunday, The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson reported that there is increased optimism a deal may get done.
Monroe presumably wanted to test free agency, but with Peter King calling Monroe the consensus 4th best left tackle on the market, and with top left tackle Brandon Albert expected to only make around $9.5 million a year, it seems reasonable to think Monroe may end up falling in the price range the Ravens are comfortable with paying.
Nothing is set in stone and bidding wars could arise at any time, but if Albert is signed by the Miami Dolphins (supposedly the top competition for Monroe) for the rumored price, Monroe may have to settle for less than he originally planned. Nothing can be known for sure however until free agency opens on Tuesday.
Monroe was solid but not spectacular with the Ravens last season, but performed at a higher level than any other left tackle the Ravens have had in recent years (aside from Bryant McKinnie’s 2012 postseason). With all of the money invested in quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens would be wise to lock up an above average player on his blind side.