In order for the Ravens to take that next step towards a second Lombardi trophy, the 2010 off-season is going to have to be carried out perfectly by the front office. Many of Ravens fans have already determined what direction this team needs to go in and with the way Free Agency is playing out, it looks like as if we are steering straight. However, the Ravens were caught on the short end of the off-season with the new CBA agreement trying to be settled at the moment. From the way things are going, it is looking as if the Ravens will be restricted in the off-season for finishing the season as one of the top 8 teams in the league. This year will see more Restricted Free Agents than the league has been used to in the past, so trades are also going to play a role in how Baltimore fills it's holes outside of the draft.
An explanation of the restrictions placed on the Ravens is explained on the Baltimore Ravens team page stating,
- "Because of the Ravens’ success last year, they will be handcuffed in their quest to acquire new players. At this point unless a new deal can be reached by this March – the Ravens, and the rest of the teams that finished in the final eight contenders, won’t be able to sign any players unless one of their free agents is scooped up by another club."
- "A signing also must have a comparable contract figure. Because of their divisional-round appearance, the Ravens get a break to sign one player with a salary of $4,925,000 or more and any number of players with a first-year salary of no more than $3,275,000 and an annual increase of no more than 30 percent in the following years."
A look at the Free Agents and Trade analysis after the jump.
2010 Baltimore Ravens Free Agents
Player Status Position Troy Smith RFA QB Le'Ron McClain RFA FB Mark Clayton UFA WR Derrick Mason UFA WR Kelley Washington UFA WR Demetrius Williams UFA WR L.J. Smith UFA TE Quinn Sypniewski UFA TE Billy Cundiff UFA PK Sam Koch UFA P Jared Gaither RFA OT Tony Moll UFA OT Adam Terry UFA OT Marshal Yanda RFA OL Justin Bannan UFA DL Antwan Barnes RFA LB Dawan Landry UFA SS
With the rules of the new CBA only allowing us to sign Free Agents once one of our own gets signed, things might actually workout considering there are a few key names that may be departing from our team. WR Mark Clayton is one that comes to mind because he has been given his chance in Baltimore, but has not lived up to his first round selection he once was. I feel as if there is a good chance that a different team signs Clayton rather quickly, then allowing us to make a splash in Free Agency. Other players such as Kelley Washington and Justin Bannan also hold a good chance of going quickly.
With the RFA, this is where we could make trades for draft picks or even a player. Teams can offer a contract to these players, but we have the ability to match that offer. A trade could also be used here for guys such as Troy Smith, who is stirring up a buzz with off-season trade talks. Here is a look at the players that could possibly be used in a trade scenario.
RB Willis McGahee
- Reason: McGahee, 28 years old, still feels that he can help a team as a number 1 RB. After the type of season Willis had this year, there is really no reason to argue with him. The amount of touchdowns that McGahee saw this year is not usual for a #2 RB. Baltimore would love to keep together the 3 headed monster we already have, but Willis could offer some great value to other clubs.
- Value: As stated, Willis could be a #1 option for some teams next year. It is unlikely we see McGahee be used in a one on one trade for draft pick, but a package could be used with Willis involved for bring in a big time player or extra draft picks.
- 2010 Contract: 7 years, $40.12 million; Due $3.5 million in 2010
QB Troy Smith
- Reason: If you look around the league, you will not see many former Heisman trophy winners standing on the sideline. However, Troy is one of those few people and it now looks as if he deserves a shot to start. Smith has bee criticized for different reasons, but can compete in this league.
- Value: Talks have supposedly begun with Troy's agent, but things are still being sorted out. Rumors of a team like Buffalo giving upwards of a 3rd round pick for Smith. Could also be used in a package deal.
- 2010 Contract: 3 years, $1.22 million
DE Trevor Pryce
- Reason: Pryce finished out the year behind Dwan Edwards on the depth chart, but Pryce can still bring pressure even at age 34. Retirement has been considered, but his durability since arriving in Baltimore shows no stopping now.
- Value: A team looking for veteran leadership might take a look at Pryce. With Richard Seymour possibly leavin Oakland, why wouldn't Al Davis want to bring in a guy like Trevor Pryce? Another player to be used in a package deal. The chance is slim of Pryce not finishing the final year on his contract in Baltimore, but it is a business.
- 2010 Contract: 5 years, $25 million; Due $4.5 million in 2010
(All trades would be ideal if used in a package for WR Brandon Marshall)
Other players to possibly be used in a trade.
- Todd Heap
- Antwan Barnes
- Jared Gaither