Ravens fans, hold on!!!

July 20, 2011 | John West

What does the next 7 days look like for the Ravens?

Here how it should all start to fall into place.

The Veterans will start to show up at the Ravens training facility in Owings Mills this weekend. Again, the Westminster Training camp has been cancelled, so all pre-season activities will take place at “The Castle” in Owings Mills.

Next up, all 32 teams will get a small window, somewhere around 2 or 3 days, to have exclusive negotiating rights with their own teams pending free agents. Those names for the Ravens are Marshall Yanda, Le’Ron McClain, Chris Chester, Dawan Landry, Chris Carr, Josh Wilson. There are a few other names, but these are the names you will recognize and the ones that the Ravens will focus on. Le’Ron and Dawan are gone. Chris Chester and Josh Wilson will probably go someplace else. Marshall and Chris Carr will get the full focus on the Ravens and they will hope to wrap those contracts up before the end of this exclusive negotiating period ends. My instincts tell me that if a contract isn’t done during this short window, that it won’t get done. I look for this window of negotiating to start Monday, July 25th.

During this same time period, probably starting this Friday, July 22, the Ravens will be able to begin negotiating with their drafted rookies. The Ravens have 8 drafted players that all need to be signed in days. I expect all but first round draft pick jimmy Smith will get this done. Jimmy will take a while to get signed. He has the worst agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and there is some confusion about where he was picked. (He was the 27th pick but I cannot imagine his agent agreeing to the 27th slot in the new rookie wage scale. This will take some time, time that Jimmy Smith and the Ravens don’t have).

Again, during this same time period, the Ravens will look to sign 8 to 15 undrafted rookie free agents.

Yes I know that is a lot to get done from Friday July 22 to Thursday July 28th. Well, it is a lot and it had better get done. Why, because sometime around Thursday or Friday the full NFL Free Agent market will be available to be signed. The Ravens cannot be behind in any of the things mentioned above because there is exactly zero time to get caught up. The truncated Free Agent signing period should start next Thursday or Friday, about 2 weeks before the 1st scheduled pre-season game. This will be no time for the timid. Ozzie and group go forth and show the NFL world what we already know, that you guys are the best.

On the Free agent market, I think the Ravens will be looking to sign a veteran safety and veteran DE. On offense, I think they will look to add a back-up Quarterback, a full back, and maybe a running back if they cut Willis McGhee.

In the NFL it is very difficult to get the advantage over your opponent. When you do, you have a responsibility to use that advantage to its fullest. The end to this lookout and the breakneck speed at which things will begin happening will test every team. This is a test the Ravens must win. Everything is in place for the Ravens to take advantage of this opportunity, let’s hope it happens.