THE GRAPEVINE: Ravens should take a Hall pass

Lombardi's Way THE GRAPEVINE: Ravens should take a Hall pass

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Clearly the Ravens have needs in their defensive backfield and some believe that DeAngelo Hall could help. What isn’t so clear is if the Ravens will be players for Hall’s services now that he has been released by the Raiders as reported today by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Any team can now put a waiver claim in for Hall. The team with the worst record placing a claim will be awarded the Pro Bowl corner. If no team places a claim on Hall and he clears waivers, he becomes a free agent and then any team can negotiate with him.

Yet there are risks associated with a claim for Hall. While he could be perceived as a relative bargain given that the acquiring team is really only liable for the remainder of his $1 million 2008 base salary, acquiring Hall through waivers carries an injury guarantee. Hall has option bonus money due to him to the tune of $16.5 million and that money is guaranteed even if he suffers a career threatening injury. This is the motivating factor behind his release by the Raiders. Oakland’s 2-6 start and Al Davis’ failed on the field investments certainly are contributing factors as well.

As a result of this $16.5 million risk, the guess here is that Hall will clear waivers and if he does clear, Ozzie Newsome could make the call to Hall.

That said Hall won’t come cheaply. Hall has a decent resume and he is young, celebrating his 25th birthday later this month. The Ravens two most pressing needs in the offseason will be corner and wide receiver. If the Ravens believe that there is not a corner of Hall’s ilk when they expect to make their first pick (probably a mid to late first round selection) then they could make a play for the former Raider/Falcon.

But I wouldn’t hold my breath if you are hoping to see Hall in purple and black. Hall has struggled in the traditional Raiders’ press coverage. He was more successful in Atlanta’s Cover 2 scheme. Like his brother Rob, Rex Ryan demands solid man cover skills from his corners. The Ravens interest in Hall will likely last about as long as a phone call between the Ryan brothers if that.

If the Ravens want to look at a Raiders’ corner, they should wait to see what the market will bear for pending free agent Nnamdi Asomugha. Shedding Samari Rolle’s and Chris McAlister’s 2009 salary could pave the way for some Aso consideration.

I say take a Hall pass for now…

Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco was named offensive player of the week this week. The announcement forced me to take pause and think of Steve McNair and Kyle Boller. McNair certainly faded quickly into the sunset in these parts and oh by the way, anyone who thinks Boller might return to the club as a back up in ‘09 is clearly outside their mind. John McCain has a better chance to become President in ‘12 than Boller has as backup in Baltimore in 2009. Anyone seen Boller around a Ravens’ sideline this year?

Where art thou Romeo? I bet that the Cleveland coach hates that name because of smart ass comments like this. Of course if he were a better coach we might not deliver such quips. Let’s face it, Romeo Crennel needs to make Derek Anderson his whipping boy but the truth be told, his Herm Edwards-like game clock "craftsmanship" and questionable game planning (particularly v. Ravens) is a bigger contributor to the Browns’ woes. And let’s not forget Braylon Edwards.

But when a team is down and playing inconsistently and the fans boo even with a lead and walk out well before the end of a game, someone has to take the fall and as they say, you know what rolls downhill. Next in line is Crennel despite his contract extension that pays him through 2011. Word is that the choice to go to Brady Quinn isn’t all Crennel’s doing and that Phil Savage has a hand in the move.

Oh and while we are on the topic of Quinn and Savage, there have been some wild reports that Savage has been offered two No. 1 picks for Quinn. When asked if that were true by WTAM’s Andre Knott, Savage replied, "I would trade my mother for 2 No. 1 picks." In other words, the rumored trade offers are just that – rumors.

Those of you who clamored for the Ravens to sign Daunte Culpepper will get a chance to see if your pleas were warranted. Some are reporting that Culpepper might get the start in Detroit this week as the winless Lions host the struggling Jaguars. And how bad must Kansas City be? Culpepper spurned their offer for what he described as a better one which at the time he chose not to reveal. Don’t worry Herm. Captain Stubbing Culpepper isn’t as good as the guy you’ve got now behind center, Tyler Thigpen. And speaking of the Chiefs, former Ravens WR Devard Darling, now a member of the Chiefs has 6 catches for 113 yards while B.J. Sams is averaging a pedestrian 8.6 yards on punt returns and 20 yards on kick off returns.

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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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