Ravens Meanderings: Just Say “No” to Ryan Clark

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Ozzie Newsome made it perfectly clear during the State of the Ravens presser that free safety is a position of interest. Unfortunately if free agency was the intended means to address the need, the talent there has quickly dried up with the Dolphins Chris Clemons arguably being the best of the un-signed UFA safeties.

But yesterday, according to the Baltimore Sun, a new candidate has emerged.

Ryan Clark!

There’s a reason Clark is no longer in Pittsburgh. Given Troy Polamalu’s coverage weaknesses, the Steelers couldn’t pair him up with another player who struggles in that department and seemingly prefers to play up in the box – like Polamalu.

The Ravens just split up their starting safeties from last season because their skill sets were too similar. There’s no need to repeat the mistake with a 34-year-old player in the November of his career. Truth be told, Ed Reed is a better fit than Clark.

But we really don’t want to go there now, do we?

Steve Smith is a solid addition to the Ravens receiving corps. He brings toughness, leadership and attitude to the group and his presence could help the continued development of Torrey Smith, Marlon Brown and the next receiver the Ravens draft.

He isn’t THE answer to the Ravens passing game but he is part of the solution. There’s very little downside in the signing, particularly considering the 2014 cap friendliness of his contract.

Speaking of wide receivers, NFL Networks Bucky Brooks touched down with the prize receiver from the 2014 draft class, Sammy Watkins. Both Brooks and the former Clemson Tiger liken Watkins’ game to that of the Ravens Torrey Smith.

For the moment the Ravens are sitting at just under $9.2M in cap space, roughly $1-2M of which will be needed for their 2014 draft picks. A couple of free agent names that have had regular connectivity to the Ravens are LaGarrette Blount and Alex Mack.

Blount probably wants to be a featured back and in Baltimore he may not get that opportunity unless Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce struggle like they did in 2013. However, if Blount is willing to a player in a rotation, and that’s a big if, he could restore the smash mouth mentality to the team’s offense, something that has been missing since the trio of Rice, Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain.

Alex Mack is a great fit for the Ravens everywhere but in their wallet. The Browns have placed a Transition Tag on Mack and therefore they can match any offer extended to Mack. The Ravens could employ the strategy of overpaying for Mack to force the hand of Browns GM Ray Farmer but clearly there are risks for the Ravens should Mack not perform to the level of that contract. Early on during free agency, Mack was said to be seeking Tackle money.

Word is that the Ravens have extended an offer to tight end Ed Dickson. Dickson has never lived up to expectations but given his familiarity and expected bargain basement number, it would be interesting to see what a new offensive approach would do for the former Oregon Duck. Gary Kubiak’s offensive system is known to be tight end friendly.

Michael Oher signed a deal with the Titans that is far more lucrative than most observers expected and that’s good news for the Ravens. Oher’s four-year, $20M deal with $9.5M in guarantees signals yet another potential compensatory pick for the Ravens in 2015. It also suggests that Oher will be a starter.

The higher the salary, more playing time and any potential post season awards enhance the value of a comp pick. The Ravens will receive two other comp picks if they do not sign any other unrestricted free agents not cut from other clubs. Those picks will help offset the losses of Arthur Jones and Corey Graham.

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About Tony Lombardi

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. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

15 Raves on “Ravens Meanderings: Just Say “No” to Ryan Clark

  1. Fcowher on said:

    Would it ever be a good situation to sign a player that the fans absolutely despise? Ryan Clark plays dirty and is a classic Stooler. Dont want him anywhere near our team.

      • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

        Completely different players. Woodson was an All-Pro corner transitioning to safety (after a year at corner for the Ravens). He also arrived in Baltimore before the Steelers rivalry really kicked in AND he didn’t come directly from Pittsburgh. He was with the 49ers prior to being a Raven.

  2. Jay on said:

    The main reason I don’t want Ryan Clark (besides the fact he’s a 35 year old Steeler) is his sickle cell anemia doesn’t allow him to play in Denver. If we want to go anywhere this season we”ll most likely have to go thru there so why would they spend money on someone who can’t help us when it counts? Call me crazy but give me Cromartie.

  3. Mike Z on said:

    I really like Calvin Pryor in the draft at Safety and believe he could walk in and play. Whether he is available at 17 or not is another question. His stock has been rising with some putting him above…..wait for it……wait for it….Ha Ha (Clinton-Dix). He has a little to learn in coverage, but is a beast against the run and tackles hard ()which will also be an adjustment to avoid penalties).

    I agree with you Tony; Mack would be an awesome answer. But not if it takes the bank to get him.

    • Mike Z on said:

      I don’t know about Decoud. He had a serious drop off in production last year. That is always a concern, but especially when as a player you gotta know you could be a cap hit. He did not make himself keep able for Atlanta.

    • Jim on said:

      I think we should bring Decoud in on a cheap 1 year contract (which is most likely what he’ll have to settle for). Draft Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and then if Decoud doesn’t pan out we’ve got Clinton-Dix waiting in the wings. Kind of like last year with Michael Huff to Matt Elam.

  4. the answer on said:

    Decoud stinks. if he can’t play for Atlanta, one of the worst defenses in football, he certainly can’t play for us. He won’t tackle a soul and can’t cover a dead man with a blanket.

    • ravensean509@gmail.com on said:

      10 picks in his two previous years before his dropoff last year. Maybe he got paid and lazy but i always liked him from 2011-12 when i’d see the falcons.

  5. JWS on said:

    HeyTL, This is a great day, any time we agree almost 100% is scary! Fans need to foregt Steeler hatred and look at pros and cons of any ex-players no matter what team they played for at that time! Clark is not a good signing for much better reasons than he played for the Steelers! as my Raven report to fans said today. Ozzie is again in his “Bargain basement” mode that never works and he NEVER wants to sign or draft a top center. It must have been something in his childhood when a pee wee league center beat him up! Ozzie needs a VETERAN CENTER SIGNED NOW! It does not have to be Mack as he is asking too much money my sources say but someone like Cook from the Bengals or one of the other 4 players avaialable that would fit just nicely. There are no true free safety now available in free agency and in spite of wacky Mel Kiper thoughts that are always wrong , a safety or right tackle drafted player in round one is more important. Good thoughts and well wriiten and is right on the money. Sorry to hear from my friends up there you are not a guess speaker at Harford county Raven rooste dinner thuursday.

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      I’m proud of my association with the Bud Bitzer program and sorry that I won’t be participating this year. I did vote on the student/athletes and as always, very compelling, special kids.

  6. JerryB on said:

    Lots of reasons why I agree with you about Clark, Tony, primarily because he never impressed me! I see where Tandon Doss just signed with the Jags – sure won’t lose any sleep over that! I like all the moves to date & and am certain they’ll give Kubiak the weapons he needs to get back to the playoffs. OL is the BIGGEST concern & priority in my judgment…..

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