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Late For Work 3/20: ‘Don’t Be Shocked’ If Evans Returns

Is tackle Jah Reid Plan C at guard? Benson, Jacobs options at RB. T. Smith betting on Flacco.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 at 9:42 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

‘Don’t Be Shocked’ If Evans Returns

The run on free-agent wide receivers continues with the latest wave of signings that included Mario Manningham, Brandon Lloyd and former Raven Donte’ Stallworth.

Other than reports about Ted Ginn visiting team headquarters Friday, Baltimore hasn’t dabbled in the market. And at this point, even Ginn appears to be more of a return specialist than a receiver.

But staying out of the receiver market has been a good thing, says CSNBaltimore.com’s John Eisenberg.

“The Ravens were smart not to dip into a free-agent market that went off the rails, with average guys like Pierre Garcon getting $20 million in guaranteed money,” the columnist wrote. “Those contracts will soon be regretted. Remember, the Ravens aren’t looking for a No. 1 pass-catcher, just someone to support Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. They don’t want to pay No. 1 dollars.”

So where will Ravens brass turn for a No. 3 receiver?

ESPN’s John Clayton believes Baltimore is either waiting for the draft or angling for a trade.

If neither of those two options pans out, don’t be surprised you see a familiar face filling that role again.

“Don’t be shocked if they kick the tires on bringing Lee Evans back for a lot less money than he was due to make before they cut him,” wrote Eisenberg.

At the time of his release, General Manager Ozzie Newsome left the door open on bringing him back.

“Lee might be open to that. It remains to be seen,” Eisenberg told WNST. “They could do a whole lot worse.”

Evans was cut from the roster after an injury-riddled season capped off by having the game-winning touchdown stripped from his hands in the AFC championship. The main question right now, says Eisenberg, is whether both Evans and the Ravens can overcome the dropped ball. 

But the question going forward for the Ravens and other teams considering Evans should be whether he still has something to offer. If he does, then he remains a good option.

“The question is, it’s not ‘What have you done?’ it’s ‘What can you do?’ That’s all NFL teams care about,” he said. “Are the reasons that he didn’t perform in 2011, will they keep him from performing in 2012? That is the question. And I think in some cases, maybe they’re not. If he’s healthy and ready to go and motivated, he might do fine. They’re looking for 35 catches and something like that. And he might be able to do that.

“Honestly, he has skill. So he’s had a bad year, after seven good ones. I’m not ready to close the door there.”

Is Jah Reid Plan C?

The most glaring hole on the Ravens roster continues to be at left guard after Ben Grubbs signed with the New Orleans Saints and Evan Mathis didn’t accept the Ravens’ reported offer and returned to Philadelphia.

Grubbs was Plan A. Mathis was Plan B.

Could Ravens 2011 third-round draft pick Jah Reid be Plan C?

That wouldn’t be surprising, says The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec.

Reid has never played the position, as he was drafted out of Central Florida as a tackle. But the Ravens have been impressed with him thus far, and Zrebiec says that giving him the opportunity would be a move that is typical of the Ravens. Historically speaking, Baltimore usually looks internally first when filling needs.

It certainly would be a risky move, replacing a Pro Bowl guard with an untested, younger player who is going to be asked to play a different position,” wrote Zrebiec. “And it certainly may be a tough sell for the fans … But the Ravens obviously have a history of making good evaluations of their own personnel, and they feel like Reid made some nice strides in practice last year.

“If they don’t feel like there is a strong option still available on the free agent market, I could see them using the money elsewhere and giving Reid the opportunity.”

Regardless of what happens with Reid, Zrebiec believes the Ravens will still bring in a veteran guard off the market.

Later today, Garrett Downing will post an article on the guards still available on the market, which just got one bigger yesterday.

The Dallas Cowboys released veteran guard Kyle Kosier after spending $30 million in new contracts last week. Kosier started 80 straight games in which he was active since joining the Cowboys in 2006, according to ESPN.

Benson, Jacobs Options At Backup RB

The running back market has been slow to develop, which could be good news for the Ravens.

Baltimore will give second-year running back Anthony Allen every opportunity to win the backup role to Ray Rice, but that wouldn’t preclude them from plucking another option from the market.

As I’ve noted before, Eisenberg believes the physical bruiser Brandon Jacobs, formerly a N.Y. Giant, could fill that role.

But the answer could be a little closer to home in Cedric Benson, who had three consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons for AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals.

The Ravens may have plenty of time to think about bringing him in.

“I think this is a guy who may have to wait until after the draft [to be signed], have some teams fill some needs,” said NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger. “Let’s just say the Baltimore Ravens. They’re there and they’re looking for a backup to Ray Rice and they don’t select anybody in the draft. He could go in there and fill Ricky Williams’ spot. And he could have an extended career for three or four years [as] a change-of-pace back to Ray Rice.”

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