When it comes to star power in NFL free agency in 2012, there might not be a more stacked position group than wide receiver. But much like the running back class, this year's bumper crop of free agent wide receivers will likely be thinned when some teams exercise their right to place the franchise tag on pending free agents. Here is a look at five of the top free agent wideouts and where they could wind up.
Ravens running back Ray Rice is scheduled to become a free agent, but the team will place the franchise tag on him by March 5 in the hopes of working out a long-term deal with the Pro Bowl back. That's a bummer for teams looking for an elite back as Rice would have been the best available runner.
This year's NFL scouting combine begins Wednesday, unofficially marking the start of draft speculation season. Before the prospects are poked and prodded, though, staff writer Matt Vensel has taken his first crack at predicting the first round of April's NFL draft.
Even with today's news that Randy Moss plans to come out of retirement, the bumper crop of free-agent wide receivers appears to be thinning out as we learn more about how teams plan to use their franchise tags. How does it affect the Ravens?
If Ravens center Matt Birk has decided to retire, he hasn't announced it yet. Birk has, however, decided to go zip-lining with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Birk, a candidate for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award, is in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl and hanging out with The Commish. Photo is courtesy of the NFL.
The Ravens' Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta are out to prove they can be as effective as the Patriots' tight ends. Baltimore's second-year tandem has played well but hasn't matched the production of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs made his triumphant return to ESPN's "First Take" on Tuesday. During his last appearance before the Ravens beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh, he battled with talking head Skip Bayless about Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. Two months later, Suggs, Flacco and the Ravens are the AFC's No. 2 seed.
Can the Ravens overcome injuries and inconsistent play? The banged-up team will have to rise to the occasion against the Bengals in order to lock up a first-round bye and a home game in the second-round of the playoffs.
After briefly allowing control of the AFC North to slip out of their grasp, the Ravens can still clinch the division by winning out. The first of their final two games is against the Cleveland Browns on Saturday afternoon. Here are five storylines to watch as the Ravens and Browns spend their Christmas Eve at M&T Bank Stadium.
Last week, I chatted with ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck about San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers for an advance of the Ravens-Chargers game. While I had him on the line, I asked him about Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who has had an up-and-down season in 2011, his fourth in the NFL.