Ravens should go hard after Holmes if he leaves New York

Like many free agents who are stuck in NFL lockout limbo, Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes must wait for a resolution in the labor dispute before he can make his next move. A restricted free agent at the moment, Holmes is expected to become unrestricted once a new collective bargaining agreement is released.

"It's out of my hands," Holmes said over the weekend. "I'm a free agent this year. Whatever my agent brings to the table -- the best deal for me -- I'm pretty sure that's where we'll end up."

Assuming they can swing it financially in the aftermath of labor Armageddon, the Ravens should go hard after Holmes if he decides to leave New York, where he spent the 2010 season.

A speedy receiver with great hands, Holmes would be the weapon the Ravens need to stretch the field vertically and open things up underneath for Anquan Boldin, Todd Heap and Ray Rice. Holmes has averaged 16 yards per catch in his career. But he can do more than run go routes. He's a complete receiver, one that has a history of coming through in clutch moments (something we didn't see from the Ravens' wideouts in the playoff loss to the Steelers).

Holmes, who spent four seasons with the Steelers, is also a Ravens killer. In eight career games against the Ravens, Holmes averaged 71.4 yards per catch and scored seven total touchdowns.

To paraphrase the old saying, if you can't beat him, pay him to join you. Holmes says he wants a multi-year deal. "I want a contract -- flat out," he told The New York Daily News.

It will be a while until the dust clears and free agency begins. When it does, Holmes' agent should be one of the Ravens' first calls.

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