Originally written on Ravens Football Machine  |  Last updated 3/24/12
7d


The Ravens ended their free-agent signing drought with a bang this weekend...

Probably the biggest deal of all was re-signing ILB Jameel McClain, insuring continuity at the inside linebacker position alongside aging veteran Ray Lewis...


Jameel McClain, 6-1, 250, in his 5th year out of Syracuse, tested the free agency waters but ultimately was re-signed by the Ravens for three years.

Baltimore brought in two new players and reached deals with two of their own free agents, agreeing to contract terms with linebackers Jameel McClain and Brendon Ayanbadejo (three years) and defensive backs Corey Graham (2 years) and Sean Considine (1 year).

“Obviously we’ve been very patient, but we’ve been working,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “We’re trying to do things that will put us in position to make our team better. I think we’re kind of methodical in our approach and want to make smart decisions, want to make wise decisions.

“Nobody is better at that than Ozzie Newsome.”

Keeping McClain in Baltimore allows the Ravens to hold onto one of their top defenders, who has started at inside linebacker the last two years and finished second on the team in tackles last year.

With Ayanbadejo, Graham and Considine, the Ravens added some depth to their defense and also brought reinforcements to a special teams unit that struggled at times.

“We’re shoring up our team in certain areas, areas that we think we need to improve,” Harbaugh said. “In some cases you’ve just got to keep the guys we’ve got, which is not easy to do. We’re excited about where we’re going.”

The moves were met with a sense of relief, after the Ravens saw some of their own players leave town and were also spurned on at least one occasion in the opening days of free agency.

Ben Grubbs (New Orleans), Cory Redding (Indianapolis), Jarret Johnson (San Diego), Haruki Nakamura (Carolina) and Tom Zbikowski (Indianapolis) all left Baltimore for new teams, and then left guard Evan Mathis turned down an offer from the Ravens to remain with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Ravens also reportedly visited with receiver Ted Ginn and pass rusher Mark Anderson, but Ginn ended up re-signing with San Francisco and Anderson went to Buffalo. It’s unknown if the Ravens offered contracts to either player.

Before the moves on Friday, the Ravens were reportedly $4.464 million under the salary cap for 2012, which didn’t give them much room to make a big-money splash on the open market.

These are some much needed moves, and smart ones... but Ozzie and the Ravens are not done plugging holes yet.

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