GRAPEVINE: Ravens Say Goodbye To An Old Friend

Lombardi's Way GRAPEVINE: Ravens Say Goodbye To An Old Friend

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As reported this morning by WNST’s Drew Forrester, the Ravens have decided to part ways with Edwin Mulitalo.  The eight year veteran whose 2006 season was cut short due to injury has been a career long Raven, a solid roadgrader at left guard when healthy, a great team player and an active member in the community.  The move is a curious one given the team’s outward optimism about Mulitalo’s conditioning in 2006.  Mulitalo was expected to be ready to participate in the team’s spring OTA’s.
Some observers believe that the move is necessary to create cap space for an expected move at running back by the Ravens. But the move creates a little less than $300K in cap space due to the accelerated signing bonus.  On the surface, moving Keydrick Vincent may have been a better move.  That would have freed up $1.6 million in cap space.  At 32, Mulitalo is 3 plus years older than Vincent and perhaps that had something to do with the move.  Vincent could be a candidate for restructuring or a pay cut which could create more cap space for the team.
The beneficiary of the additional cap space could be Willis McGahee.  The feeling on McGahee is generally good although off the field, there have been hints of volatility that the Ravens will surely need to get comfortable with if such a move is forthcoming.  As for McGahee on the field, here’s how Scouts, Inc. describes the former University of Miami star tailback:
McGahee is a big, strong and skilled. He is explosive, powerful and can be effective inside and outside the tackles. He has the speed and acceleration to get downhill quickly and press the hole. He has good lower-body strength and is a natural jump-cutter. He has good vision as a zone runner and good pick-and-slide ability. He can stop and restart smoothly and quickly. He runs with good lean at the second level and will fall forward after contact. He has the burst and speed to bounce outside and turn the corner. He is an effective short-yardage and goal-line runner. He has good receiving skills and is a strong runner after the catch. He can weave and avoid in space. McGahee seemed to wear down late in 2005 and could be an injury risk. He tends to run a little upright and expose his body to big hits. He suffered a serious knee injury in college. He doesn’t deliver many big runs, though he runs behind a poor offensive line. He has the size to match up in pass protection but is somewhat inconsistent on the edges.
Like I said, we’ll find out soon enough.  Wonder if C-Mac will give up No. 21.  Which almost screams for this response from C-Mac: What you talkin’ about Willis?
More on McGahee…A source in Buffalo close to 24×7 tells us that Willis McGahee is looking for a new contract. No secret there.  A deal with Denver was pretty much done that would have included Denver’s third round draft pick in 2007 until McGahee’s agent Drew Rosenhaus entered the picture claiming that Denver’s $13 million guarantee wasn’t enough.  When the Titans cut Travis Henry loose, the Broncos extended the same offer to him.  Henry took it.    
The source goes on to say that the Bills want a first day pick but the problem is that Rosenhaus who is seeking Shawn Alexander money for his client.  The source goes on to say that Rosenhaus is also in the midst of contract discussions between Thomas Jones and the Jets  and that deal could determine the asking price for McGahee.  The Jones deal might also influence Jamal Lewis’ fair market value and eventually impact the Ravens dwindling discussions with Lewis’ agent Mitch Frankel. (Note: Adam Schefter from NFL Network reports that Jones’ new deal is for 4 years, $20 million with $12 million guaranteed.)
One more thing on McGahee.  As of this writing, the Giants are not totally out of the picture on the soon to be former Bill.  And as the potential suitors for McGahee fall off, the Bills asking price could become a fourth round pick instead of a first day pick.
Trent Green might not be wearing red in ’07 and could be given the green light to go elsewhere.  Green’s agent Jim Steiner has informed sources that the team has asked Green to restructure his contract – one that pays him $7.2 million this coming season.  The truth be told, Green hasn’t been the same since that vicious hit to the head delivered by the Bengals’ Robert Geathers.  He is tentative and plays scared in the pocket.  Green had considered retirement and was encouraged by his family to do exactly that.  Yet his spirit to compete put him back on the field.  It’s just not the same Trent Green.  This one is shell shocked and frightened to run with the football.  Unless he can exorcise those fears, he’s done.  Caveat emptor.
One of the teams considering Green is the Miami Dolphins who just reeled in a big fish.  Well at least his new contract suggests he’s a big fish.  Joey Porter signed a five year $32 million deal with the Fins that includes $20 million in guarantees.  Porter will be 30 on March 22 and for the most part disappeared at times when taking on formidable opposing tackles in 2006.  While Porter’s versatility is a match for Miami’s multiple defense, if you are going give 20 large in Benjamins to Porter, why not at least play ball and compete for Adalius Thomas?  Moves like this one could put General Manager Randy Mueller back at ESPN.
Dre Bly is about to cry.  He’s not happy about his trade to the Broncos, preferring instead to play for the Redskins who are much closer to his home in Chesapeake, Virginia.  Word is that the Redskins pulled out their magic salary cap wand and have cleared some space to creatively give Bly the new deal that he seeks.  The Broncos aren’t as willing to re-work Bly’s contract and therein lies the rub.
"Hopefully he’ll see the light," said Jim Bates, assistant head coach in charge of defense, at a Tuesday get-together for the Broncos’ new coaches. "He’ll see the opportunity in Denver of being part of a great football team, great organization and being opposite the side of Champ Bailey. Hopefully he’ll come around and say, ‘Hey, this is where I want to be.’"
I can’t wait to hear Bly say, “It’s not about the money.”
In other Broncos’ news, it appears that Jake Plummer is playing a little cat and mouse stemming from his trade to Tampa Bay.  Plummer wanted to be reunited with Gary Kubiak in Houston but Houston didn’t want to budge in trade discussions with Denver, expecting Plummer to eventually be released anyway.  That didn’t happen as Mike Shanahan vowed and he shipped Plummer to Tampa.  Plummer trumped the move with the retirement card, a card that has yet to be filed with the league offices.  Don’t be surprised that when the dust settles Plummer is playing somewhere.  If it’s true that the Dolphins are interested in a somewhat punch drunk Trent Green, surely they would have interest in Plummer.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T…Add Bears’ LB Lance Briggs to the list of unhappy millionaires.  Briggs is resisting the franchise tag in a big way.
"I’ll do everything that’s within my power to not be with this organization. What it really comes down to it’s not about the money. It’s about you’ve played long enough and you think you’ve earned a certain position on the team that you would be here for a long time."
The Bears attempted to avoid such collateral damage that often accompanies the franchise tag last spring when they offered a six year, $33 million deal to Pro Bowl backer, an offer that apparently is far short of Briggs’ targeted number.
If Chicago’s handling of Lovie Smith’s contract situation is any indication, the Briggs discussions are going to get ugly.
Want to know who the Ravens will take with their first pick?  Well if The Sporting News is clairvoyant by nature, the pick will be Cal’s Marshawn Lynch.
Hold up on that trade Ozzie!

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 Networks, LLC’s founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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