THE GRAPEVINE: Baltimore Ravens News & Notes

Lombardi's Way THE GRAPEVINE: Baltimore Ravens News & Notes

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The Ravens have agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal with troubled but promising linebacker Rolando McClain. When McClain is officially signed it will leave the Ravens with $3,920,252 in cap space. Approximately $1M – $1.5M of that figure will be set aside for signing draft picks.

The Ravens will receive an additional $2.5M in cap space on June 2 tied to the release of Bernard Pollard.

It’s interesting how some fans have adopted a holier-than-thou attitude when it comes to McClain, expecting him to somehow contaminate a well-cultivated locker room. There’s really little risk in the deal for the Ravens and there could be some significant upside. If the Ravens are comfortable with the deal, fans should be as well.

But for those who want to cast stones at the move, if you made a mistake during your career, wouldn’t you want a second chance?

What if the Ravens didn’t give Ray Lewis a second chance back in 2000?

For the moment the player most likely to play beside Rolando at inside linebacker is another McClain – Jameel. The former undrafted free agent has the tenth highest salary cap figure ($4.2 M) amongst all Ravens accounted for under the cap.

Jameel doesn’t make enough impact plays to justify the figure from my vantage point. The Ravens could save another $3M in cap space if they part ways with the former Orangeman.

BUT… don’t be surprised if the Ravens sit tight on No. 53. McClain is well respected by the coaching staff for his work ethic and leadership. Both could help the club’s very modest investment in Rolando McClain pay big dividends.

Christian Thompson is a big disappointment to the club. When they drafted the fast, hard-hitting safety out of South Carolina State they expected him to make contributions on special teams during his rookie season and then make a push to start in 2013.

Thompson’s knee injury that forced him to injured reserve status tipped those best laid plans.

Mucking up the plans even more is Thompson’s four-game suspension to start the 2013 campaign. The forced vacation will place him at a competitive disadvantage, as he’ll take on the likes of James Ihedigbo, Omar Brown and probably a few rookies when training camp kicks off in July.

The biggest question mark with Thompson really is his commitment to the game. His suspension stems from violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. There has been no confirmation if the substance was a performance-enhancing drug or one of the recreational variety.

If it’s the latter, that means that Thompson flunked a drug test three times during his rookie season and if that is the case, the team has to seriously question his commitment to the game and his value if any to the team.

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 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. More from Tony Lombardi


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