With teams beginning the process of trimming their rosters this week, some quality players will become available with about two weeks till the start of the regular season. Obviously there’s a reason that teams decide to part ways with those players, but in some cases a certain player hits the market who can still be a quality contributor when placed in the right situation. Ravens fans need look no further than Daryl Smith for a prime example. A player who was in the Jaguars’ mind expendable during their rebuilding process has been one of the most consistent defenders for the Ravens the last two seasons, and quietly but productively filled the shoes of Ray Lewis– no easy task.
Ozzie Newsome is one of the best in the business when it comes to bringing in talent this late in the offseason, and there’s a good chance the Ravens will sign a veteran or two over the next few days. In the last 48 hours a couple players have become available who could help with some much needed depth.
The Bears released Tim Jennings on Monday. Despite a down season last year Jennings was a Pro Bowl player in both 2012 and 2013. In those two seasons combined he recorded 13 interceptions and three touchdowns. At age 31 he may be past his prime but likely has enough left in the tank to add some needed depth to the Ravens secondary. Even with the offseason acquisition of Kyle Arrington, the Ravens could use another experienced corner. With Lardarius Webb’s up and down play and difficulty staying healthy the Ravens could certainly use another experienced corner. Outside of their top three cornerbacks he’d be an upgrade over anyone else on the roster. He reportedly visited Tampa today but left without signing a deal.
Another player the Ravens will likely inquire about is recently released Phil Taylor. The Browns released their 2011 first-round pick today, with Danny Shelton, their 2015 first-round pick, poised to be their starting nose tackle. Most Ravens fans will remember Taylor from his altercation with Ray Rice in 2013. After slap-punching Rice in the head, Taylor accused Rice of spitting in his face. Regardless, Taylor is an aggressive player who plays angry and with an edge and would be a good fit with the Ravens. With the once deep unit now lacking depth after some unfortunate injuries, Taylor would be a good addition to the Ravens defensive line. While Brandon Williams and Taylor both play nose tackle, the entire Ravens defensive line has proven to be a versatile group that can shift spots depending on who is healthy. Taylor is also a native of Clinton, MD and would probably love the opportunity to play the Browns twice a year and play for a consistent winner. Signing with the Ravens would make sense for a number of reasons.
With a substantial amount of cap room, the Ravens have the flexibility to add a couple players over the next week. Whether it’s Jennings, Taylor or someone else it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Ravens make a couple final moves to improve their final 53-man roster.
Editor’s note: The usable cap room is significantly less than the amount in our Salary Cap table, as our guru, Brian McFarland does a good job of explaining in this piece previewing the impending roster crunch.