As Offseason FINALLY Opens, Ravens Face Seven Major Issues

July 25, 2011 | Glenn Clark

2-Who will hold down the Right Side of the Offensive Line?

With both RT Jared Gaither and RG Marshal Yanda approaching free agency, there is a legitimate chance that the Ravens will need to provide new OL Coach Andy Moeller with a new look to C Matt Birk’s right.

Yanda will likely command a high price on the open market, as his ability to play RT last season caught the attention of multiple NFL teams. The Washington Redskins have been connected to Yanda in multiple reports, their involvement could price the Ravens out of Yanda’s services.

Gaither’s tenure in Charm City has been plagued with injuries and questions about desire. Solid seasons in 2008 and 2009 will likely allow teams to forgive a 2010 campaign that saw Gaither fail to take even one snap for the Ravens. His back injury however could seriously limit what he might find on the open market, but would likely leave the Ravens less likely to consider resigning the former Maryland big man.

If they do not acquire outside help, the Ravens would likely turn the RT job to 3rd round pick Jah Reid from Central Florida or veteran OT Oniel Cousins. G/C Chris Chester would be the likely replacement for Yanda at RG, as Chester spent the majority of the 2010 season playing the position while Yanda pitched in to help out at RT for Gaither.

Amongst free agent offensive lineman, Saints OT Jermon Bushrod is an appealing name. The former Towson standout was plugged in to help lift New Orleans to a Super Bowl title two seasons ago and has played mostly solid football since then. Patriots OT Matt Light, Cardinals G Alan Faneca and Buccaneers G Davin Joseph are also amongst free agent options.

3-Which cornerbacks will be on the roster come Week 1?

The Baltimore Ravens finished the 2010 season with Chris Carr and Josh Wilson starting at CB. When they face the Steelers Sept. 11 at M&T Bank Stadium in Week 1 of the 2011 season they are possible if not likely to have a brand new duo in the secondary.

Carr and Wilson are both unrestricted free agents, as is CB Fabian Washington. Washington is certainly not expected to return, but the Ravens would like to try to keep at least one of the Carr/Wilson duo, with their preference likely in that order.

CB Domonique Foxworth returns this season from a torn ACL that ended his 2010 campaign on the first day of Training Camp. That being said, a base salary of $4.4 million in 2011 also makes the former Terrapins star and Western Tech alum a possibility to be let go before the season starts.

The Ravens selected Jimmy Smith in the first round of the NFL Draft out of Colorado with the idea that he would become a top tier NFL corner early in his career. Along with third year corner Lardarius Webb, they’re the only “sure things” to be part of the rotation to start the season. 5th round pick Chykie Brown (Texas) is also in the mix, as is Cary Williams-but neither are guaranteed to be on the 53 man roster.

The most popular free agent name for Ravens fans to discuss has been Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha, but he comes with what will almost certainly be the heftiest price tag of anyone in the 2011 free agent class. The Ravens would have to do a significant amount of creative work to be in the Asomugha market, but can’t be dismissed as suitors. Jets CB Antonio Cromartie and Bengals CB Jonathan Joseph are also amongst the more well known players available.