By Matt Vensel
10:30 AM EDT, July 27, 2011
The Ravens unofficially freed up salary cap space when they announced that they were releasing a quartet of veteran contributors, fueling speculation that the team was gearing up to make a splash in free agency.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the Ravens re-signed offensive tackle Marshal Yanda to a five-year deal. Sports Illustrated reported the contract was worth $32 million. That might not have been the cannonball some fans hoped the Ravens would make in the free-agent pool, but Yanda was the team’s top offseason priority.
His annual cap number -- a little over $6 million a year -- is manageable (it might have been higher had the Ravens not moved quickly to get Yanda under contract). They can get more wiggle room if they work out an extension with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who is getting franchise tag money at the moment.
The Ravens can use some of that cap space to retain other key free agents -- Josh Wilson perhaps? -- and maybe convince Derrick Mason or Todd Heap to stay at a discounted price.
But after they fill several holes on the roster, will the Ravens have enough cap room to make waves in free agency? It would take some clever maneuvering, but don't rule out the possibility.
So hypothetically, if the Ravens have the flexibility to go after one of the top players who are available, who should it be? Nnamdi Asomugha, the All-Pro cornerback? Santonio Holmes, a noted Ravens killer? Ray Edwards, who had eight sacks in 2010? Sidney Rice? Osi Umenyiora? Steve Smith? The other Steve Smith?
(Blogger's note: Scratch Holmes off the list already. Right after this post went live, it was reported that he is staying in New York.)
Offseason speculation is truly fantasy football for fans, so tell me who your dream Ravens addition would be.
Your turn: If the Ravens make a splash, who should it be?
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