There is so much to love about the newest Raven. Watch these highlights for a sampling (h/t Purple Reign Show):
Several things jump out at me- foremost is his sound tackling, a trait lacking from last years squad with Matt Elam, Asa Jackson, and Chykie Brown the biggest culprits. Second is his nose for the ball. Last year's Ravens was possibly the worst ever in regards to forcing turnovers. Over the past 4 regular seasons, Arrington had 5 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, 8 interceptions (7 in 2011) and 3 sacks, one of Flacco. He has another 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery in 12 playoff games. A third thing that stuck out was his ability to make plays on players who were bigger than him. There were several nice plays on bigger players in the highlight reel, including several on Jimmy Graham.
An interesting aspect to look at to emphasize how much value this signing has, is to compare him to the Ravens other free agent targets. Obviously I am sure there are some CB's we kicked the tires on who did not make the news. But three of the bigger names were reported: Cary Williams, Perrish Cox, and Tramon Williams.
- Cary Williams: 30 yrs old, 6"1 190 lbs.
Signed with the Seattle Seahawks for 3 years, $18 million ($3.5 million signing bonus)
Cary, a former Raven, was coming off a horrendous season with the Eagles. He was cut early, and snapped up by the Seahawks who knew they would have to replace Byron Maxwell. Williams deal is not as big as it seems, as the 'Hawks can cut him after 2015, leaving it a 1 year $7 million deal.
Here is what Sam Monson of PFF had to say about him:
In 2014, he surrendered five touchdowns and 757 receiving yards. However, he has shown the ability to make plays in coverage and ended the year with a positive PFF coverage grade of plus-0.9, despite those negatives.
- Perrish Cox: 28 yrs old, 6"0 190 lbs
Signed with the Tennessee Titans for 3 years, $15 million ($2.5 million signing bonus)
The team guaranteed little of the contract, and he is a high upside player. Started the season well, but finished it pretty badly. Still to be seen if he can put together a whole season. This is what PFF said:
2014 Grade: +1.2
2014 Snaps: 965
Cox has always been a beguiling talent. He’s long enough, athletic enough and skilled enough to be one of the better corners in the league, but has struggled to convert that natural talent into playing time and production. Of his five seasons as a pro, Cox has been a significant contributor for just two of them, the first as a rookie with the Broncos in 2010, and then this past year in San Francisco. Between those two seasons, Cox bounced between teams and made little impact.
Cox began 2014 in good form, he was our seventh ranked cover corner after nine weeks, allowing a 48.9% completion rate, and holding passers to a 42.3 QB rating. However he struggled down the stretch, with those figures rising to 61.5% and 78.0, respectively. He’s shown enough to merit starting somewhere in 2015, but not enough to warrant a true starters contract.
- Tramon Williams: 32 yrs old, 5"11 191 lbs
Signed with the Cleveland Browns for 3 yrs, $21 million ($10 million guaranteed)
The Browns had to pay a huge Cleveland tax to get an experienced, but declining cornerback. I was hoping the Ravens wouldn't spend more than half of that on him, so to have the Browns grossly overpay him is just a bonus. Here is PFF's take:
2014 Grade: +1.22014 Snaps: 1,158Turning 32 in March, Williams probably won’t give teams the same long-term option that those above him on this list do, but his experience and skill set should ensure he still generates interest.Including playoff games, Williams has started 89 of a possible 90 games for the Green Bay Packers in the past five seasons, demonstrating terrific durability. During that stretch he made 22 picks and allowed a 55.7% completion rate, both of which are impressive numbers. However of the 24 touchdowns conceded in those five seasons, 10 came in 2014, along with his highest completion percentage allowed (63.6%). Worrying signs perhaps, but Williams was targeted heavily throughout the season and still graded out positively. There is no reason to believe he can’t do the same again in 2015.