Kevin C. Cox
The Oakland Raiders released safety Michael Huff, and the Baltimore Ravens should consider adding him for both his ability and versatility.
Michael Huff is an eight-year NFL veteran who plays both safety and cornerback. The Oakland Raiders took him with the 7th overall pick of the 2006NFL Draft, behind Mario Williams, Reggie Bush, Vince Young, D'Brckashaw Ferguson, A.J. Hawk and Vernon Davis.
He started his career at strong safety, moved to free safety and played cornerback due to other injuries in theRaiders secondary. He has had at least two interceptions in each of the past four years. Despite his solid play and versatility, Oakland cut ties with him last week, obviously due to financial reasons.
Huff signed a four-year, $32 million contract in 2011. The Raiders restructured his contract only a year later and his $7.3 million cap hit in 2013 forced the team to let him go, a situation that Ravens fans know all too well (see Anquan Boldin).
At 6'0", 211 pounds, Huff appears to be best suited for the free safety position but has proven to be able to move around in the secondary as needed. This versatility seems to be perfectly suited for the Baltimore Ravens team needs. With free safety Ed Reed still unsure where he will play in 2013, the team is also not definitely set at the strong safety position.
James Ihedigbo is currently in the best position to start at strong safety, but the rest of the roster that has safety experience is spotty at best. The loss of cornerback Cary Williams to the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency, opens the door for either Jimmy Smith, Corey Graham or both to start, depending on the health of Lardarius Webb, who is coming off his second ACL surgery of his brief career.
Huff could come in and start at one of the safety positions, whether or not Reed chooses to return to the Ravens. He would provide quality depth at cornerback and probably could be a solid contributor on special teams if needed.
The key issue in today's NFL at this time of year would obviously be what it would take to sign him. The Ravens do have some space in the salary cap, but that could all change with Ed Reed's decision. In addition, the recent news that the Ravens are among a bunch of teams interested in now former Denver Broncos defensive standout, Elvis Dumervil, would also greatly affect the Ravens ability to offer Huff and others attractive contracts,.
It's always an added attraction to convince free agents to come play for you when you are the defending Super Bowl Champs, but it will still take the cash up front to make them sign on the dotted line. If the Ravens can get Michael Huff to join the team, he could be a key contributor to help fans forget the mass exodus of players from the defensive side of the bal and get them on board to understand that the Ravens have had a plan all along.