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Chiefs free-agent safety Ron Parker could be strong fit for Ravens

The Ravens' need for a playmaking safety hasn't diminished. Since the departure of future Hall of Fame free safety Ed Reed two years ago, the Ravens have lacked speed and instinctiveness at the position.

And besides Alabama standout Landon Collins, this year's NFL draft class generally is regarded as lacking in top safety prospects.

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In free agency, a safety who could be a strong fit for the Ravens is Kansas City Chiefs veteran Ron Parker. Like the Ravens, the Washington Redskins also have a pressing need at the position.

Parker, 27, has visited the Chicago Bears, but the Bears signed three-time Pro Bowl safety Antrel Rolle on Thursday. The Chiefs have maintained interest in bringing back Parker as well.

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A former undrafted free agent from Newberry, Parker graded out as one of the NFL's top safeties last season, his first as a starter. He started all but one game and recorded a career-high 94 tackles with an interception, a sack and a forced fumble, and had a dozen passes defended.

The 6-foot, 206-pound Parker has 114 career tackles and three interceptions, but is regarded in NFL circles as an improving player.

Parker, who made $645,000 last season, started four games at cornerback and 11 at safety in 2014. That kind of versatility could provide a boost to the Ravens' secondary, which struggled last year with injuries.

Parker is regarded as best suited to play safety despite having his moments at cornerback last season, including holding Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins to four catches for 27 yards in a November win.

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Whether the Ravens can fit Parker into their budget remains to be seen, but he could be a valuable addition.

Although Parker isn't expected to be as expensive as some safeties, such as the New England Patriots' Devin McCourty (five years, $47.5 million), compensation for him could approach the $5 million annual salary for Pittsburgh Steelers safety Mike Mitchell (five years, $25 million) or fall into line with Houston Texans safety Rahim Moore's $4 million average (three years, $12 million).

Parker played for the Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers, bouncing around the NFL before emerging as a playmaker last season for the Chiefs.

The Chiefs led the NFL in pass defense last season, allowing just 203.2 yards per game.

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