Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome (I always almost type "Ozzie Smith!") is known league-wide as a shrewd talent evaluator, not just in the NFL Draft, but in free agency as well. He always seems to know the difference between two similar players and how they'll fit on this team. A minor yet classic example of this was just exercised by the recent agreement in principle on a contract with former Tennessee Titans CB and kick returner Chris Carr.
The Ravens had brought in former Denver Broncos CB Karl Paymah, for an interview and workout last week and were rumored to be adding him as their nickel or dime back. Shortly thereafter it was announced that the Ravens were granting Samari Rolle's request to be released, expected tomorrow (Monday). However, in the past 24 hours or so, the Ravens announced their agreement on a two year contract with Carr, who is obviously the better of the two and will fit in perfectly with the hard hitting Ravens in the physical AFC North. Carr is used to the tough, physical play in the AFC South with the Titans, one of the top three physical teams in the conference, along with the Ravens and Steelers. Paymah was a reserve with the Broncos, who were constantly outmuscled in the run and even the passing game. After the Ravens signed Carr, the Minnesota Vikings signed the Ravens reject Paymah. Once again, Ozzie picked the Vikings pockets, getting Carr before they did, after grabbing former Vikings enter Matt Birk earlier in free agency.
You got to have the utmost confidence in Ozzie as we get into the "bargain" stages of free agency leading up to the draft next month. Even after the draft, teams will fill out their rosters with low cost veterans and don't be surprised if Ozzie makes another great move or two as this year's team begins to take shape.
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