Friday, March 23, 2012
Ravens finally end free-agent drought
By Jamison Hensley
After 10 days of what has been an unproductive free-agent period so far, the Ravens signed their first free agent from another team.
Was it a left guard? No. Was it a pass-rusher or outside linebacker? No and no, again.
The Ravens ended their free-agent drought by reaching an agreement with Pro Bowl special-teams player Corey Graham from the Bears, according to the Chicago Tribune.
It's no secret that the Ravens wanted to address special teams this offseason. Baltimore gave up three touchdowns off returns, and its punt coverage team (24th) and kickoff coverage one (31st) both ranked in the bottom 10 in the NFL.
Plus, two of their top four tacklers -- Haruki Nakamura (Panthers) and Tom Zbikowski (Colts) -- already signed elsewhere in free agency, and three-time Pro Bowl special-teams player Brendon Ayanbadejo is a free agent. As we addressed in today's Wake-up Call, the Ravens have reportedly expressed interest in Lions special-teams ace Isaiah Ekejiuba.
Graham, a 26-year-old backup cornerback, has been the Bears' most consistent special-teams player the past three seasons. His 75 special-teams tackles since 2007 rank third in the NFL.
He agreed to a deal with the Ravens a day after his visit to the Lions. He also met with the Seahawks.
"I believe it's a better situation for me and a better opportunity with a fresh start," Graham told the Tribune. "I gave the Bears every opportunity but they moved on. All around, Baltimore is just a better deal for me and my family."
The Ravens have had a frustrating start to free agency. Baltimore had three players in for visits, and guard Evan Mathis (Eagles), defensive end Mark Anderson (Bills) and wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. (49ers) all signed elsewhere.