Ravens should let Tiki Barber earn that paycheck elsewhere

As expected, there has been chatter on the message boards and talk radio about the possibility that the Ravens will sign former Giants running back Tiki Barber now that he is coming out of retirement. You can be sure the guys over at The Castle will talk about it for a few minutes, too, because they have discussions about pretty much every available player.

I doubt that conversation will last long, though, despite the expectation that the Ravens will be in the market for a running back or two this offseason. Barber isn't worth the trouble.

There are questions about Barber's motives. When he retired, he made a bunch of smug comments about how he had interests outside of football. Then his broadcasting career with NBC bombed, he cheated on his wife with a 23-year-old intern and he claimed he was too broke to pay the divorce settlement to his former wife. It's pretty clear why Barber is trying to come out of retirement, and it's not to get that elusive Super Bowl ring.

There are questions about Barber's character. Ex-teammate Antonio Pierce slammed Barber on Tuesday for criticizing Giants coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning on his way out the door in 2007. "Tiki Barber, the leader, the person in that locker room?" Pierce said. "He is not going to do anything for your team."

And then there are the questions about Barber's ability. He turns 36 next month and hasn't played a snap in five years. Sure, he finished his career with five consecutive 1,200-yard seasons, but that was eons ago going by NFL time. There is no way he'll be a productive player if he returns, especially with his heart not being in it. Maybe Barber will find a role somewhere as a third-down back -- maybe -- but that's something the Ravens don't need. They already have Ray Rice, who might be the best pass-catching back in the NFL.

Count on the Ravens bolstering their backfield in the draft or on the free-agent market whenever the dust settles in the labor brouhaha. They will pass on a washed-up back who is just trying to cash a paycheck.