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Ravens Stacking Free Agent Board

Just like the draft board, the Ravens’ scouting dept is grading and stacking nearly 500 NFL free agents.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Sunday, February 20th, 2011 at 10:55 am | Categories: Mike Duffy

While the Ravens’ college scouting department is finalizing their draft board of their 150 top draft prospects, just down the hall there is another board being crystallized.
 
Ravens Director of Pro Personnel Vince Newsome and his staff have ranked the nearly 500 free agent prospects from across the league’s 32 teams.
 
Of course, the NFL’s uncertain collective bargaining agreement affecting the number of free agents that will be on the open market is making Newsome’s job tougher than ever before.
 
Under the current CBA guidelines, which took effect in 2010, only players with six years of service can be unrestricted and sign with any team, however.  The previous rules, which could be adopted into the new agreement, players with at least three vested years become unrestricted.
 
Needless to say, Newsome has been busy stacking the free agency board.
 
“We’re still evaluating the talent across the league – all the free agents,” Newsome said.  “What is hard to wrap your hands around is which system are you going to use.  If we have the system from last year, there are less unrestricted free agents. You’ve got more if it’s under the previous rules.
 
“So, we’re going with the biggest number of free agents.  We’ll put a grade on them and stack a board, just like a draft board.”
 
Newsome said he has to be ready for whenever free agency begins.
 
If the NFL and NFL Players’ Association can reach a new labor deal before it expires on March 4, then the market opens then.
 
If not, there is no telling when Newsome and the Ravens’ personnel department will have to get in gear.
 
“Once free agency comes about – if it does – we have to be ready as a department,” Newsome said.  “If coach [John] Harbaugh or Ozzie {Newsome, General Manager] says, ‘We need a tackle,’ we have to be ready to immediately find who our top left tackles are out there. 
 
“The same goes for any position. We have to be prepared.”
 
Vince Newsome said he’s unsure about what the new CBA will mean for free agency. 
 
Even now, the league and NFLPA are in disagreement as to whether the franchise tag is a legitimate device for retaining a player.
 
“There may be a twist to it that we don’t even know about,” he said.  “The only thing we can do is do it like we always have.  We’re just kind of lining things up and getting ready to strip it down or leave it as packed as it is and go from there.”

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