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For Ravens fans who had visions of Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha wearing purple and black, those thoughts are probably fleeting.
SI.com’s NFL scribe Peter King thinks there is too much risk in filling team holes via free agency with the uncertain collective bargaining agreement.
“If this job action lasts, which I think it’s going to last five or six months, and if it does, you risk waiting until Sept. 5 to maybe be able to fill a hole,” King told BaltimoreRavens.com from the NFL Scouting Combine. “Honestly, say whatever you want about, ‘Well, free agency will kick in and you’ll be able to go get players,’ there’s also a school of thought that says, ‘There simply won’t be free agency this year. Those players will have to go back to their teams and they’ll be unrestricted next year.’”
Asomugha is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after his release from the Raiders when the CBA expires on March 4. But nobody knows when or how NFL teams can actually pursue the highly sought-after corner until a new agreement is made. The Ravens, or any other NFL team, could be taking a big risk if they were to, for example, pass on adding a corner through the draft when they don’t know the future of Asomugha or any other free agent.
The simple reality is that no one knows how future salaries will be valued.
They also might need a starting at corner with three key players – Chris Carr, Josh Wilson, Fabian Washington – all scheduled to be unrestricted free agents.
But, the Ravens have a lot of holes they will have to fill in addition to corner. King thinks that must come on selection weekend.
For example, there is the offensive tackle position, where Jared Gaither’s status is in the air and Marshal Yanda has moved between guard and tackle.
The Ravens might want to add a tackle via free agency to either play on the right side or move left tackle Michael Oher back to his rookie position.
At this point, the Ravens could have 17 unrestricted free agents leaving the club, creating several roster deficiencies.
Depending on what happens this week, the Ravens and all 31 other teams across the league could view this draft as the only way to improve their rosters.
“It’s so uncertain right now,” said King. “I think if you have a real need, you have to look in the draft.”