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Late For Work 3/14: Ravens Linked To Royal, Ginn, Winston

Saints ‘making a push’ for Grubbs, Pagano targeting Redding first, Birk still negotiating.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 at 8:21 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Ravens One Of Many Teams Pursuing Royal

In just the fourth hour of free agency, the Washington Redskins signed their third wide receiver of the evening: former Denver Bronco Eddie Royal.

SYKE!

After reporting the signing at 6:53 p.m., the Washington Post later gave an update at 9:20 p.m., saying Royal and the Redskins couldn’t agree to terms after the two sides had a breakdown in talks.

Apparently a deal was in place after the former Virginia Tech star dined with Redskins brass, but other teams began to show late interest and Royal put the deal on hold.

One of those teams “interested” in Royal is the Baltimore Ravens, according to Scout.com’s Aaron Wilson. 

The 25-year-old receiver caught 19 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown last season, a continuation of his declined production over the past three years. Described as a “fan-favorite” in Denver, Royal was solid in the playoffs where he added five more catches for 74 yards and a touchdown.

Royal also brings special-teams value. He was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after returning a punt 85 yards for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders.

After then Broncos Head Coach Mike Shanahan drafted him in the second round of the 2008 draft, Royal showed great promise in his rookie campaign when he hauled in a career-high 91 passes for 980 yards and five touchdowns.

A reunion between Shanahan and Royal is still possible after he shops around. The Redskins offered a reported two-year, $12 million deal.

“The fact that any team is closing in on Royal this fast shows you how aggressive the free-agent market is for wide receivers,” wrote ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.

If the Ravens are indeed interested in Royal as reports suggest, would they offer him more?

“I don’t see us spending high numbers on a wide receiver,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said at the combine. “We just don’t have the cap room. It wouldn’t be a smart way to distribute the money.”

If the Ravens and Royal don’t work out, The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec throws a few other available names on the table for consideration, including Giants’ Mario Manningham, Cowboys’ Laurent Robinson and Rams’ Brandon Lloyd.

“But if yesterday’s spending was any indication, they, too, might be out of the Ravens’ price range,” Zrebiec added. “They could always go the veteran receiver with heavy baggage route and try to sign Plaxico Burress or Braylon Edwards and heck, why not throw Terrell Owens’ name into the mix. But I just don’t see them doing that. 

“I think the likelihood is that the Ravens get that receiver they covet in the first couple of rounds of April’s draft.”

Ravens Linked To Another WR/RS: Ted Ginn

Ravens fans got an uneasy feeling when they saw starting cornerback Lardarius Webb setting up to return a kick or punt last season. Even Ed Reed returned three punts.

Luckily neither of them was injured during a return, but it appears as if the Ravens don’t want to continue taking chances.

The Ravens are “thought to be seeking elite special teams players” in free agency, reports Don Banks.

The SI.com scribe specifically named San Francisco 49ers receiver/return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. and former Jacksonville Jaguar Kassim Osgood as two players to watch. Baltimore’s desire to upgrade on special teams could be another reason why they are interested in Royal.

Hensley also named Ginn as a possible option for Baltimore.

If Ginn were to sign with the Ravens, he would be reunited with Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron, who drafted the speedster in 2007 with the ninth-overall pick when he was the head coach in Miami.

“Ginn would be the bigger name for the Ravens to snatch,” wrote CSNBaltimore.com’s Jeff Seidel.  ”A former first-round draft pick with enormous speed, he’s become a good kick and punt returner. He’s never quite developed into a dangerous wide receiver, but would fit nicely with the Ravens.

“He’d wind up being a lot like Jermaine Lewis was – a receiver who can fill in with speed as a No. 3 guy and give the team a consistent kick returner who could break off a long one. He had a good year last season with the 49ers as they won the NFC West.” 

Ravens Interested In Tackle Winston

One more player to whom the Ravens were linked last night was free agent offensive tackle Eric Winston.

Wilson reported Baltimore’s interest in the former Houston Texan, who was released by the team yesterday with a “failed physical” designation.

Winston told FOXSports.com that the reason for the designation was because he underwent arthroscopic ankle surgery in February, but he says he will be medically cleared in two weeks.

The 29-year-old right tackle thought he would be playing in Houston in 2012 before he was surprisingly cut. He started every game for the past five seasons.

“[Winston] was considered one of the league’s better right tackles,” wrote FoxSports.com’s Alex Marvez. “But with a $5.5 million base salary for 2012 and the Texans having salary-cap issues, Winston became expendable.”

It wouldn’t be a “sexy” signing, says The Sun’s Ron Fritz, but it would allow the Ravens to flip Michael Oher back to the blind side and potentially waive Bryant McKinnie to free up some money under the salary cap.

Winston reportedly met with the Miami Dolphins last night and has scheduled visits with the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs.

Winston also may visit the Ravens and Redskins, reports PFT.com’s Mike Florio.

Saints ‘Making A Push’ For Grubbs, Oher Not Worried

As expected, Ravens guard Ben Grubbs is already gaining interest on the free-agent market.

The New Orleans Saints appear resigned to the fact that they will lose Carl Nicks, who is widely considered the most-coveted free agent guard. Reports indicate Nicks could sign with the Tampa Bay Bucs.

Grubbs is considered the No. 2 guard on the market, and NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora reported the Saints are “making a push” to sign him.

“Grubbs’ asking price isn’t as high as Nicks’, but as of now, it appears to be out of the Ravens’ range,” wrote Zrebiec. “According to sources, the Ravens made the 28-year-old an offer similar to the five-year, $32.5 million pact it gave right guard Marshal Yanda last July. However, Grubbs apparently wants more than that and was intent on shopping his services on the open market.”

Should Ravens fans be worried that it could be splitsville for Grubbs and the Ravens?

Not according to his Ravens teammate and fellow offensive lineman Oher.

A fan asked Oher to give Grubbs a call and convince him to stay.

“Talked to him last night it’s looking good!!” Oher replied on his Twitter page.

Pagano’s First Move Is Redding, Not J.J. Or McClain

Prior to the opening bell of free agency yesterday, many had speculated that Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano, the Ravens’ former defensive coordinator, would make a move for either Jarret Johnson or Jameel McClain.

Turns out, Cory Redding was the first Raven on his list.

The 31-year-old defensive end visited with Pagano and the Colts last night, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

“The Colts are switching to a 3-4 defense under Pagano and they need veterans who know his scheme,” wrote Zrebiec. “The Ravens have youngsters Arthur Jones and Pernell McPhee to fill the void should Redding depart.”

The Ravens have reportedly told Redding that they’d like to have him back after he notched 4 1/2 sacks and 42 tackles while playing in 15 regular-season games.

Birk, Ravens Still Negotiating

Agent Joe Linta said he received phone calls yesterday from teams interested in his client, Matt Birk, but the veteran center still prefers to return to Baltimore.

“Although we had calls after 4 p.m. today, Matt’s choice is to remain a Raven and we will push hard to have him stay,” Linta told The Baltimore Sun.

The two sides are reportedly expected to meet this week to resume discussions. Negotiations for Joe Flacco, who is also Linta’s client, will also continue at that meeting.

Quick Hits

  • jeffzrebiecsun: #Ravens didn’t make qualifying offer to LB Chavis Williams along w RB Matt Lawrence. [Twitter]
  • Ravens Senior Vice President Kevin Byrne confirmed that the organization sent a group of people to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium two weeks ago to continue planning an open practice at the Annapolis facility during training camp. The tentative date that the two parties are eyeing is Aug. 12. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Wayne was once thought to be a good target for the Ravens … ProFootballTalk: Per league source, WR Reggie Wayne gets three-year, $17.5 million deal to stay in Indy. $7.5 million guaranteed, not sure if “fully.” [Twitter]

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