Just a few years back, this was a painful time for the Ravens as they began the
This year, the Ravens have plenty of cap space and could be major players in the free agent market, with a huge focus on improving that passing game.
Wide receiver Derrick Mason has been cut by the Tennessee Titans and rumors are circulating that Washington Redskins receiver Laverneus Coles could be cut or traded as well. Although Coles could be going back to New York, the moves still could give the Ravens two more options to improve their passing game.
At 31 Derrick Mason's age could be an issue, but his consistency isn't. The guy simply produces year in and year out, even though he struggled a bit this past season with injuries. He also brings the added bonus of being a kickoff and punt returner, which could always come in handy should B.J. Sams get injured.
If the Ravens can get Mason for a bargain price, they should pull the trigger.
Coles is especially intriguing. He was a major factor with the New York Jets before signing with the Washington Redskins two years ago, where like a lot of players in recent memory, his career has taken a turn for the worse.
Even still, Coles had 90 catches this past season for the ‘Skins, 55 more
than the Ravens top receiver. He only had one touchdown, but the catch total is
impressive in an offense that was probably worse than the Ravens, if you can
Coles is the type of receiver who would fit in well with the Ravens. The team already has a tall, possession receiver in Clarence Moore. Randy Hymes also fits that same mold. They also have Todd Heap, who can do just about everything from the tight end position.
However, the Ravens are missing a burner, a speed guy who can simply blow by opposing defensive backs en route to a long touchdown pass, or a guy who can flash across the middle and then turn up field after the catch, picking up chunks of additional yardage. Coles can be this guy for the Ravens.
The only worry with Coles may be his attitude. He had some off-the-field issues at Florida State with fellow teammate Peter Warrick, and has voiced his displeasure over the Joe Gibbs offense on a routine basis, citing the ball isn't thrown down the field enough.
Jim Fassel has come to the rescue for the Ravens offense, but those aren't the type of comments you want to hear when you consider Kyle Boller just completed his second season, the offensive line can't pass block and Jamal Lewis is an elite running back. In other words, we aren't going to be heaving the ball down the field every play, and the Ravens don't need any malcontents (see Laverneus) complaining about the play-calling.
Mushin Muhammad was released yesterday and it is expected that that Plaxico Burress will become a free agent by the deadline next Tuesday.
Burress had a solid year and seemed to develop a chemistry with quarterback Ben Rothlisberger, but there are questions about his consistency. Muhammad had a tremendous season for the Panthers, and if the Ravens knew he could duplicate last year's success, they would sign him as soon as he is released.
The next couple of weeks are sure to be interesting in the NFL, as teams trim their rosters to fit under the salary cap. With significant cap room and the failure to make the playoffs being deemed unacceptable, look for the Ravens to be one of the teams to watch on the free agent market.
Steve deClue is a Ravens fan, University of MD student and regular
contributor to the 'Fan Commentary' at RavensInsider.com
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