Welcome to the '16 version of the Baltimore Beatdown mailbag, dubbed The Inbox. You ask 'em, I'll do my best to hunt down an answer for you. Or just make one up. But, hey, that's one that would be drenched in Raven Purple, so it should suffice right? Let's click some messages.....
Good Day, Mr. Crossover. I would like my broken ankle repair bill paid promptly, please.
According to GM Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens are looking at Tackle, Safety, Corner, and Pass Rusher in the draft. That list was actually given by Owner Steve Biciotti and Newsome agreed with it, re-stating only pass rusher. The Ravens have 7 Safeties on the roster, 8 when you consider Restricted Free Agent Brynden Trawick, and potentially two more on the Exclusive Rights Free Agents list (listed as DBs). The biggest move here is Lardarius Webb to Free Safety. Coach Harbaugh mentioned liking his effort back there, and his experience/ball skills will be a plus. It makes me wonder if they would feel little need to go free agency for the position, but rather mine the talent that exists. Newsome has also been known to feel that one can never have too many Cornerbacks. History shows that Newsome is a wait-and-see kind of hunter, and will probably take that approach with the position of Safety, especially looking at what happens in the draft. I wouldn't expect to see him go big in free agency unless a huge deal a la Elvis Dumervil comes free at an opportune moment. The other thing to consider is that people in this system have an advantage; an outsider trying to come in will have a learning curve and that is not where the Ravens want to be, they feel that they can win next year. It is easier to break in a new corner than a new safety, especially in Dean Pees' defenses designed to confuse the Quarterback.
The next click is off of the Baltimore Beatdown Facebook Feed:
Good question, Randy. Coaches are not considered in the same way as players because there is no draft of them. They are signed in more of a free market system, and are not considered the primary ingredient of the sport of football. Players are. Therefore, there is much more protection for players than coaches when it comes to tampering, signing, contracts, negotiations with pother teams. There is a pretty detailed tampering policy for coaches who have interest from other teams, but the two categories of interest are Head Coach and Assistant Coach only. If one is an assistant, the rules only seek to protect a team that is in the playoffs on whose staff the assistant coach resides. Otherwise, there is about a three week exclusivity period after the season ends, which can be waived, and then it's a free for all. The simple answer is, it's free enterprise. The employing team can choose to try and keep their assistants, there is no cap for assistant salaries, they did not draft them. Survival of the fittest...team.
If we had a high draft pick for every assistant that got hired on to coach some other team...dynasty, baby!
Next click: A Ravens SuperFan's Tweet:
Whattup #Hype! Well put--people are always more excited by the skill positions, but great Left Tackles can give years and years of stability. As mentioned earlier, Newsome did mention LT as one of the positions that will be sought in the draft. Is it the foremost need? Not when you have three playoff-experienced players in the depth chart. Osemele was considered the top Guard in free agency, but only the 4th or so LT, which could help his chances to remain a Raven. Remaining at Guard would test the Ravens' ability to keep him because of what they invested in Yanda. Moving to LT would make it more of a feasible investment. Then, there's Monroe. We must remember that he grades out well when healthy. To cut him would leave $6 million of dead money on the salary cap. So, Hype, for my druthers, I'd say that LT at #6 is a long, longshot. There are two being mentioned as top ten prospects, Laramy Tunsil of Old Miss, and Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame. Only Tunsil is seen as top 6 at this point. But there are two defensive backs, one who is being mentioned as an ahtletic freak, who are seen as top 6.
Now when we look at our tackle depth, we have a star (Osemele) and a legit starter (Monroe). But when we look at our cornerback depth, we are lacking starpower, although Jimmy Smith could make an argument with a healthy year. Can you imagine him opposite of a gamebreaking, Deion-type on the other side? The other thing about tackle is, there is no lock on the other side. Could cap room be cleared up by moving Rick Wagner? Could Monroe's deal be restructured? There's room to work with the existing tackle depth and put a high level product on the field. It seems the DBs could use a boost, an infusion to get to that level.
But, hey, I could be off in space. It all depends on the all-important, top secret, Ravens Draft Board.
Next click is up the same alley:
@BMoreBeatdown Any chance Monroe becomes anything other than a cap casualty? (Trade, restructure, etc.)— Preston Donakowski (@Preston_D) January 13, 2016
Donakowski! That sounds like a starting Tight End. Suit up! Ravens starting Left Tackle Eugene Monroe has played in 17 games since he became a Raven, and missed 15. He only finished 3 games this season. He refused to restructure his contract before the 2015 schedule was played; now he might be a little more amiable. Even though injury was not an issue for him before, it is firmly on his docket now, so he will have a chance to express how much he wants to remain a Raven by playing ball if and when approached on this issue. His salary is middle of the field for LTs; he grades out just above the median for LTs in the league according to Pro Football Focus:
The little green bar at the end of the chart means that he is their last "good/above average" LT grade in the league.
And while a trade is always possible--we know Ozzie Newsome loves his draft picks--I think there exists a workable compromise to keep him in house. Reputation is important for players, and right now his is needing shoring up, from the health perspective. It's not like he has a big payday in store if he is let go. We would free around 2 million by cutting him, but I think a more creative solution can have him remaining in Baltimore, at a lesser price.
And with that, we'll close the BB Inbox for the week. Please comment below with your thoughts, it's possible that I could pull a question from there as well. The normal places are Twitter: @baltimorebeatdown and/or @chrisbraven, or Facebook Baltimore Beatdown Page. Hit us up with a good Q and I'll do the legwork for ya. Thanks for reading.