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2016 NFL Offseason: Free Agent Profile - FS Rashad Johnson

The versatile free safety is an unrestricted free agent who the Baltimore Ravens should consider...

USA Today Sports

Rashad Johnson is a 5'11" 204 pound former Arizona Cardinal, with eight seasons of NFL experience.  A product of Ozzie's alma mater, Alabama, Johnson is a rangy free safety who earned a prominent role on the Cardinals highly rated defense.  Over the past few seasons, he has started 30 games, accumulating 125 solo tackles, one sack, 15 passes defensed, and nine interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.  Johnson has been a play-maker in the defensive backfield for the entirety of his career, posting career totals of 30 passes defensed, 15 interceptions, one forced fumble and three touchdown returns.

It is currently unclear if the Cardinals will heavily pursue Johnson this offseason, as they have great depth at the safety position.  Tyrann Mathieu will be rejoining the Cardinals following offseason knee surgery, to pair with safeties Tony Jefferson and D.J Swearinger.  Deone Bucannon also fills a hybrid linebacker-safety role for Arizona's defense.

Rashad Johnson would bring needed coverage skills to the Ravens secondary. WalterFootball.com rates him at the 10th best safety on the market this offseason and note that he can be a liability in run support but his strong coverage makes up for it, going on to say that he should have a few good season left at the age of 30.  NFL.com ranks Johnson as the #63 free agent available and state that he can do many things well at the safety position.

The Ravens have invested heavily at the free safety positions since the legendary Ed Reed left Baltimore.  Matt Elam was drafted as a combination safety but proved to be more effective in run support.  Veteran Michael Huff was a complete bust as a free agent signing and third round draft pick Terrence Brooks has yet to put it all together.  Darian Stewart was serviceable as a hybrid safety but did not show consistent play-making ability for the Ravens.  And Kendrick Lewis left much to be desired last season, particularly in pass coverage.  Rashad Johnson is a pure free safety that could bring stability to the position and allow Will Hill to fill his more natural strong safety assignments.

The Ravens pass defense was their biggest vulnerability between all five phases of the game in the 2015 season.  Johnson may not be the best safety in run support, but the team already has enough defenders who are better against the run and can afford a safety who specializes in pass coverage.  Along with new secondary coach Leslie Frazier, adding Johnson to the roster could improve the Ravens defensive communication issues and elevate their interception totals to respectable levels.

Rashad Johnson is the exact type of under the radar free agent the Ravens should look at with their current salary cap restrictions.  Ozzie should definitely consider signing him to a short term value contract.