Even when Jimmy Smith was healthy, the Ravens situation at cornerback wasn't that great.
The lone bright spot of the secondary, Smith's play was the only thing worth mentioning as his fellow teammates in the secondary have struggled mightily. Hampered by a back injury, Lardarius Webb isn't the player he used to be. Backup cornerback Chykie Brown has continued to disappoint, and wasn't even active against the Bengals. Asa Jackson has played well in the nickel, but was placed on Injured Reserve with a designation to return sometime in December.
With Smith out, the Ravens will now rely on Webb and Dominique Franks as their top two options. Franks signed with the Ravens as a free agent during the offseason and was eventually released. He was re-signed once Jackson went down with a significantly sprained toe.
Whenever "a few weeks" actually is will continue to be a mystery. This is coming from the same coaching staff that said that Owen Daniels is fine, but the next day he has his knee scoped and would be inactive against the Bengals.
With the Ravens clearly needing help until Smith returns, the San Diego Chargers may have done them a small favor by releasing cornerback Richard Marshall earlier on Monday.
Let me be clear, Marshall isn't going to set the world on fire, but he could be a decent Band-Aid for the Ravens in the meantime. If you watched the Thursday Night Football matchup with the Broncos and Chargers, Marshall was torched by Emmanuel Sanders early in the game for a 31-yard touchdown. Given what Peyton Manning has done to the Ravens in the past, the front office is pretty familiar at 1 Winning Drive.
Three weeks ago, the Ravens tried out veteran cornerback and future Hall of Famer, Champ Bailey. While many people get caught up in the name on the back of the jersey, I don't think Bailey is as even viable as an option as Marshall would be. Bailey was cut by the Saints before the start of the regular season, has had tryouts and still remains unemployed.
Marshall at least has some snaps under his belt this season, having played in each game this season for the Chargers and has one start. Last year, he played in every game, started in six of them during the regular season and had two starts in the playoffs.
The Ravens would be able to sign Marshall to a veteran minimum deal given that he wasn't traded, which means his contract (albeit, not that large) won't have to be picked up either. Also given that Marshall was released before Tuesday's trade deadline, he won't have to clear waivers, which means the Ravens can have a straight shot of signing him versus automatically losing him to a team with a higher waiver priority.
Given the bad news about Smith having to miss the next couple of weeks, the Ravens need to address a situation already worth addressing prior to his injury. Marshall isn't a great option, but he's just about better than anything that is out there right now on the open market.
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