Veteran cornerback Kyle Arrington isn't officially available yet, but he should be soon when he's let go by the New England Patriots.
It's a little too early to determine how much – if any – interest that the Ravens will have in him, but this we do know: Despite drafting Tray Walker in the fourth round, the Ravens have remained interested in adding a cornerback, and they obviously know Arrington well with the number of times they've played the Patriots in recent years.
Arrington, 28, started 56 games for the Patriots over the previous five seasons, but his role diminished last season when he started just four games and played about 40 percent of the team's defensive snaps. Due to take up about $4.6 million of salary cap space in 2015, the Patriots apparently determined that Arrington's cost was too much given his projected role.
Multiple reports say that Arrington very well could return to the reigning Super Bowl champions at a reduced rate. If he doesn't, the Ravens certainly figure to be a team that would interest Arrington. Again, there's yet to be any definitive indications that the Ravens will make a play for him, but here are several reasons why a pairing could make sense:
Still looking for a corner: The Ravens don't want to be in the same situation that they were in last year, when injuries and ineffectiveness left them with a revolving door at cornerback. They kicked the tires on several free agent corners, including Perrish Cox, Cary Williams and Tramon Williams, but they've yet to add a veteran this offseason. That leaves them with a top four of Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb, Rashaan Melvin and Asa Jackson. Behind them are Walker, who is viewed as a developmental corner, Chris Greenwood, Tramain Jacobs and Quinton Pointer. Arrington could add much-needed depth and experience.
Experience in the slot: Arrington struggled at times in recent seasons on the outside, but he's been at his best in the slot. He gave quick, slot receivers like T.Y. Hilton and Wes Welker problems in the past. The Ravens struggled last year to replace Corey Graham, who played a lot in the slot in 2012 and 2013 before signing with the Buffalo Bills. Arrington can run and he has good ball skills with nine career interceptions, seven of them coming in 2011.
Special teams prowess: Arrington was an undrafted free agent out of Hofstra who ultimately cracked the Patriots' lineup, partly because of his work on special teams. As everybody who has followed John Harbaugh's teams know, the Ravens are always looking to improve their special teams groups. The Ravens have yet to re-sign Jeromy Miles, one of their core special teamers the past two years, and Arrington certainly would be a quality replacement.
Arrington is a Maryland native: The cornerback is from Accokeek and went to Gwynn Park High. That doesn't necessarily mean that Arrington is intent on returning to his home state to play, but obviously he's very familiar with the Ravens and the area.
From one winner to another?: In six seasons with the Patriots, Arrington was part of four teams that went to the AFC championship game and two that went to the Super Bowl. Every Patriots team that Arrington was on won at least 10 games in the regular season. If he doesn't re-sign with the Patriots at a reduced rate, going to another team that is a perennial playoff contender would likely be a priority.