Poll: Ravens Top Free-Agent Priority?

Is it re-signing key veterans, working out long-term extensions or picking up new weapons?

Posted by Ryan Mink on Monday, March 12th, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

Free agency’s doors are set to swing open tomorrow at 4 p.m.

What should be the Ravens’ first order of business?

There are a number of issues on the docket, with varying degrees of importance and deadlines.

Here’s a look at some of them. In your opinion, which should be handled first?

What's the top free-agent priority?

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Extend QB Joe Flacco
Flacco has one year remaining on his deal, so he’s going to be in a Ravens uniform next season regardless. However, Ravens brass has gone on record this offseason saying they would like to get their quarterback locked up long-term this year and negotiations have reportedly started.

Extend RB Ray Rice
Rice is in a similar, but not identical, situation to Flacco. He will be in Baltimore next season no matter what, because the Ravens applied the franchise tag. Like Flacco, Rice is also a critical part of the offense. The Ravens have until July 15 to sign Rice before he’s locked into playing under the tag.

Re-sign G Ben Grubbs
Barring a last-minute deal, it appears Grubbs is going to hit the open market. The Pro Bowl left guard will be a hot commodity, and his departure would leave a gap in the offensive line. Head Coach John Harbaugh told reporters the Ravens were in the process of offering Grubbs “a lot of money.”

Re-sign OLB Jarret Johnson
The Ravens’ Iron Man is a critical part of the defense, particularly stacking the edge against the run. He has said he would like to retire a Raven, but could get offers elsewhere. The New York Daily News reported the Jets and former coach Rex Ryan are interested.

Re-sign ILB Jameel McClain
Once an undrafted free agent, McClain has rounded into a dependable starter next to Ray Lewis for the past two seasons. McClain stepped up when Lewis was out with an injured toe and is just 26 years old. Is he the future at inside linebacker in Baltimore? McClain is hoping to return.

Sign a wide receiver
Baltimore released wide receiver Lee Evans, opening up a spot at No. 3 wideout next season. General Manager Ozzie Newsome said Baltimore would like to add to the wide receiver corps even before parting ways with Evans. There is a deep free-agent wide receiver class and some names, such as Reggie Wayne, have been linked to Baltimore. The Ravens could dive in or be patient and wait to get a bargain.

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