Free safety isn't the only need in the Baltimore Ravens secondary. With cornerback Corey Graham signing a four-year, $16 million contract with the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday, the Ravens have to figure out who is going to be their nickel back.
Graham is an underrated defender and special teams player -- even a starter for Baltimore in the Super Bowl -- but you can't fault the Ravens for not matching a deal that averages $4 million per year. Good player, bad price.
Right now, Chykie Brown would be the favorite, although Asa Jackson would compete for the job. Both are big question marks. No one knows if either one can succeed or fail. There's just not enough body of work to determine it. Last season, Brown played 38 snaps on defense and Jackson didn't see one play on defense.
With so many teams using three wide receivers these days, Graham's job is an important one because he had almost as much playing time as a starter. He also would step into the starting lineup if either Jimmy Smith or Lardarius Webb got injured.
Unlike the free safety position, which the Ravens need to fill in free agency, the team can address nickel back in the draft. The Ravens could use a third-round pick on a cornerback, who could play nickel back as a rookie and possibly move into a starting role in 2015.
Webb has an $11 million cap number in 2015, and the Ravens could create $4 million if they cut him. That's why it is a big year for Webb.
So, whoever replaces Graham and plays nickel back for the Ravens this season could become a starter the next year.