By Matt Vensel
3:54 PM EDT, March 15, 2012
We’re 48 hours into free agency, and the Ravens have got just one player -- linebacker Chavis Williams, who played five games for them in 2011 -- to sign on the dotted line. But around the NFL, many of the top unrestricted free agents have come off the board, led by defensive end Mario Williams, who just received one of the biggest contracts in NFL history from the Buffalo Bills.
Before the start of free agency, I put together my list of the top 25 free agents available. With Williams signing in Buffalo, eight of my top 10 free agents and 15 of the top 25 are now off the market. The two other top-10 free agents, Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn, are quarterbacks.
As we wait for the Ravens to make their next move -- maybe signing free-agent guard Evan Mathis, who is visiting today? -- I’ll opine about my top 10 available free agents and whether they might fit with the Ravens. They won’t be bringing in a big-money quarterback, so I left those guys out.
13. Chris Myers, C, 30. As of Wednesday, there was no movement in the team’s negotiations with veteran center Matt Birk, who wants to return. It seems like a formality that things will get done and that the team will also draft a center. But Myers is one of the top two centers in free agency and with the Houston Texans played in a zone-blocking scheme similar to the Ravens'. He is likely out of their price range, especially with the Texans and Tennessee Titans reportedly vying for his services.
14. Stephen Tulloch, MLB, 27. Tulloch, who played for the Detroit Lions in 2011, is viewed as one of the top inside linebackers on the market, but he remains unsigned. So do all of the other top linebackers, including Baltimore’s Jameel McClain. McClain is a younger and likely cheaper option.
16. Jason Jones, DT, 25. Having played at both defensive tackle and end during his time with the Tennessee Titans, Jones is a versatile player. But he would likely be an odd fit in the Ravens’ scheme.
21. Tracy Porter, CB, 25. He’s the top cornerback left, but the Ravens don’t need help at the position. If they give big money to a corner, it will be to Lardarius Webb, their own restricted free agent.
22. LaRon Landry, SS, 27. A few teams are expressing interest in Landry, who is still dealing with an Achilles injury, but the Ravens were pleased with how Bernard Pollard played in 2011. They do need reserve safeties, especially if Haruki Nakamura signs in Carolina, but Landry will start somewhere else.
23. Brandon Lloyd, WR, 30. Lloyd, one of a couple of second-tier receivers still on the market, visited the San Francisco 49ers and has been strongly linked to the New England Patriots. His skill set would fit in well with those of Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, but what’s Lloyd’s price tag in this market?
24. John Abraham, DE, 33. He’s a productive player with more than 100 career sacks. But is he heavy enough to be a five-technique end? It’s doubtful, and the Ravens have Art Jones and Pernell McPhee.
NR. Eric Winston, OT, 28. Winston was surprisingly let go by the Texans shortly after I put my initial list together or he would be in my top 25. He has experience in a zone-blocking scheme and would be a great fit in Baltimore (his presence might prompt the Ravens to move Michael Oher back to left tackle, but they are apparently comfortable with that). Winston is on a free-agent tour this week and the Ravens are one of his stops this weekend. Will he make it to Baltimore or be signed before then? Stay tuned.
NR. Evan Mathis, OG, 30. He is in town today, and he would be a solid replacement for Ben Grubbs.
NR. Curtis Lofton, ILB, 25. Lofton is a good, young player who holds up well against the run, but he is limited in passing situations. And if there is a criticism (true or not) of Baltimore’s current linebacking corps, it’s that they struggle in pass coverage. Lofton could land with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
OK, it’s your time to chime in, Ravens fans. Which unsigned free agent should the Ravens bring in?
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