The offseason is underway in the NFL and teams are making cuts to trim salary for free agency. Recently released players are always a good thing for Ravens fans to pay attention to because Ozzie generally finds bargains in that group of Players. The list so far this year contains names like:
Steve Hutchinson, Anthony Herrera, Cedric Griffen, Joseph Addai, Gary Bracket, Melvin Bullit, Dallas Clark, Curtis Painter, Brandon Jacobs, Peyton Manning, Marcus Trufant, Demorio Wiliams, Dominique Foxworth, Louis Castillo, James, Farrior, Aaron Smith, Anthony Adams, Frank Omilye, Albert Haynesworth, Lee Evans and Chris Carr.
There are a few others, but those are most of the important ones. Of that list I could see a few players the Ravens would be potentially interested in. Steve Hutchinson, Anthony Herrera, Gary Brackett, Melvin Bullit, Brandon Jacobs, James Farrior and Lee Evans are the names that stick out to me. The two the Ravens should focus on the most though, are Hutchinson and Jacobs. One probowl guard to use for a couple seasons while the Ravens find a replacement for Ben Grubbs (if needed), and one probowl RB to be a complimentary option to Ray Rice. Both players still have quite a bit left in the tank and neither should be very expensive at all. I would guess that Hutchinson (who spent several years playing between Matt Birk and Bryant McKinney) could likely be had for around 3 million per year and Jacobs for slightly less than that. I am still holding out hope that Ozzie Newsome and the rest of the front office can find a way to get Grubbs resigned, but at this point it seems like Grubbs is dead set on testing the market. if that happens, I don’t think there is much of a chance at all that the Ravens can bring hi back into the fold if they were to get into a bidding war with a team like the Browns or Bears. If that happens i think the Ravens are going to have to find someone in Free Agency to fill the gap because it is always a gamble to rely completely on the draft.
That’s not to say that the Draft doesn’t offer good options for the Ravens. David Decastro and Cordy Glenn are both first round calibre players that can play LG, unfortunately I don’t think either will be available at 29. The second round offers better options like Amani Silianu and Kevin Zeitler but depending on one of them to fall is both foolish and irresponsible. That is why Hutchinson is such a nice option and he fits the Ravens MO of replacing young players they drafted but couldn’t afford with aging vets that are looking for a shot at a championship before they retire. It’s a nice system and Hutchinson might be the next player in that line.
Now about Brandon Jacobs. He has been a complimentary back for basically his entire career with the Giants and is a two time Superbowl champion. With the Retirement of Ricky Williams, the Ravens are suddenly in the market for a powerful change of pace back to fill his shoes. Enter Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs is a massive RB and when he isn’t trying to dance around defenses, he is a premier power back. Jacobs is also 29 years old. That means he should be cheap because no team will give a 29 year old RB a large contract, even a short term one. the Ravens could essentially give him the same contract they would have been paying Williams this season and be just as well off.
If I were in the Ravens Front office, those are among the first few players i would look into as soon as possible.