Ravens Meanderings: Just Say “No” to Ryan Clark

Lombardi's Way 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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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 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 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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