Ravens to keep them coming

A week into free agency, the Ravens have put $61 million into contracts to keep the face of the franchise, add speed to the secondary and fill the void at center.

There's a sense of satisfaction at Ravens headquarters with Ray Lewis, Domonique Foxworth and Matt Birk in the fold, but ...


"We're not done yet. I can tell you that," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "The phones are still hot."

The unfinished business could include upgrading at offensive tackle, bringing in a kicker, signing an inside linebacker, adding depth at tight end and finding an additional cornerback.


Perhaps the biggest surprise this offseason has been the Ravens' inactivity at wide receiver.

They lack a playmaker for quarterback Joe Flacco, and their top three wide receivers - Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams - will be free agents next season. Mason and Clayton are in the final years of their contracts, and Williams is a restricted free agent.

One possibility is the St. Louis Rams' Torry Holt, who reportedly has requested to be released. Holt, who turns 33 in June, could get cut before March 17, when he is due a $1.25 million roster bonus.

The seven-time Pro Bowl receiver saw his string of eight 1,000-yard seasons end last season, when he caught 64 passes for 796 yards and a career-low three touchdowns. In each of the previous five seasons, he had at least 90 catches and seven touchdowns.

Newsome wouldn't speculate what positions the Ravens still want to address, but he wants any pressing needs filled before the draft. That way he can select the best player available with the 26th overall pick.

"We're doing some things right now to make the draft just be a major plus for us," Newsome said.

Despite the losses of linebacker Bart Scott (New York Jets), center Jason Brown (Rams) and safety Jim Leonhard (Jets), Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he likes the way this team is shaping up.

"I feel great about our football team," Harbaugh said. "But we don't need to have our team in place until September. So, we're going to take every opportunity between now and September to make our team better. We're rubbing our hands together and seeing what we can do next to try to get better."


Gil Brandt, a former NFL personnel director who works for, likes what the Ravens have done so far in free agency.

"I think they got a really good player in Foxworth," Brandt said. "Brown is a guy everybody is hot on, but the Minnesota guy [Matt Birk] is a Pro Bowl player. I would say in the short term, Birk will be a better addition for the team than Brown.

"You hate to lose the linebacker [Scott], but I hear a lot of good stuff about [Jameel McClain]."

A look at positions the Ravens might need to address:

* Wide receiver:: Besides the Holt possibility, there doesn't seem to be much left in free agency that could add another dimension to the Ravens' receiving group. The best available are Marvin Harrison (who is coming off two mediocre seasons) and Joey Galloway (who failed to score a touchdown last season). The other alternatives are D.J. Hackett, Bobby Engram, Amani Toomer, Reggie Williams and Drew Bennett.

* Offensive tackle: : The Ravens showed interest in Jon Stinchcomb and Marvel Smith, which indicates they are tinkering with the idea of improving at right tackle. It was originally believed the Ravens were thinking a full offseason would help starting right tackle Willie Anderson, but the team could save $2.9 million by cutting him. The options include Smith, Jon Runyan, Tra Thomas and Mark Tauscher.


* Inside linebacker: : The Ravens have a hole without Scott, a four-year starter. The team doesn't have to look at the free-agent market because of veterans Brendon Ayanbadejo and Nick Greisen. There are also second-year players such as Tavares Gooden and McClain. But the Ravens could be intrigued by such free agents as Mike Peterson, Napoleon Harris and Angelo Crowell.

* Kicker: : It appears Matt Stover is not in the Ravens' immediate plans. The team wants to bring in competition for Steve Hauschka, last season's kickoff specialist. The Ravens could draft a kicker or add a journeyman such as Nick Novak (Maryland), Billy Cundiff or Justin Medlock.

* Tight end: : This could be the team's thinnest position with Todd Heap (35 catches last season), Quinn Sypniewski (on injured reserve all season with a knee injury) and Edgar Jones (a converted linebacker). The problem is an equally thin free-agent class: L.J. Smith, Jerramy Stevens, Tony Curtis, Bubba Franks and Ben Troupe.

* Cornerback. : The Ravens made their big splash here with Foxworth. But they are looking for a second-tier defender to fill the spot left by Corey Ivy, a nickel back and core special teams player. There could be more of a need if they grant Samari Rolle's request to be released.

Baltimore Sun reporter Ken Murray contributed to this article.

free-agent scorecard



Ray Lewis, linebacker (right)

Domonique Foxworth, cornerback

Matt Birk, center


Terrell Suggs, linebacker



Jason Brown, center

Bart Scott, linebacker

Jim Leonhard, safety


Chris McAlister, cornerback


Marques Douglas, defensive end