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Ravens Have Plenty of Spots to Fill Before Draft

Can Reid replace Grubbs at LG?

Even after signing four players last week, the Ravens would still like to fill as many remaining holes as possible between now and the draft.

Baltimore was reportedly $4.79 million under the salary cap prior to Friday’s announced deals with starting linebacker Jameel McClain (three years for a reported $10.5 million) and three special-teams standouts in linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (three years for a reported $3.2 million) and defensive backs Corey Graham (two years for a reported $2 million per year)  and Sean Considine (one year). Simply put the Ravens are “up against the cap” right now, says The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec, who added that there are certainly ways to find financial flexibility if needed.

The team could create room by signing Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and Lardarius Webb long-term or they might be able to restructure some current deals. I don’t see either occurring yet and the team may be saving what little cap room they have left to help protect Webb if another team comes calling.

If Baltimore could get some relief by aggressively negotiating at least one of the above deals they have still have several pressing needs.

Left Guard: The departure of Ben Grubbs and the failure to attract the Eagles Evan Mathis has left a rather huge hole on the left side. Second year Tackle, Jah Reid is the starter – for now. But this is March and no one has even seen Reid take a single snap at his new position. The team will need a vet presence as insurance against Reid being unable to get the job done.

Pass Rusher: The free agent market doesn’t really have many pass rushers left anyway. Free agent Mark Anderson declined to join the Ravens and opted to chase quarterbacks opposite Mario Williams instead so that leaves Baltimore hoping that their in house options Pernell McPhee, Arthur Jones, and Paul Kruger will be able to be even more productive given  more playing time.

Number #3 Receiver: Many have said, as well as myself that Anquan Boldin belongs in the slot. However for that to happen the team needs another viable option on the outside. The Ravens could address this need in the draft or potentially bring back Lee Evans. They also have Tandon Doss and Laquan Williams already on the roster. I’m not sure if either is ready just yet. That means Baltimore needs one more guy.

Return Specialist: David Reed is still recovering from an ACL tear, and Lardarius Webb shouldn’t be out there since he’s more valuable as a corner. That leaves potentially Williams, Doss, and maybe Torrey Smith as possible candidates. Ted Ginn Jr. would have been a nice addition but he chose to go back to the 49ers. Maybe the draft might be another way to fill this need.

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