After the disappointing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday which caused them to be eliminated from the play-offs, the Ravens have a lot of work to do so there will be no repeat of this season.
There will be changes. Players turning into free agents. Some will be cut, others will be re-signed.
Three veteran defensive players that will become free agents at this season’s end are inside linebacker Daryl Smith, safety James Ihedigbo and cornerback Corey Graham. All of them indicated on Monday as they cleared out their lockers that they would like to stick around for another season.
They were all starters at some point and played very well so hopefully they can remain without being affected by the infamous salary cap crunch.
Smith, a 31-year-old veteran was signed to help fill in for Ray Lewis and he did an excellent job. He has led the team in tackles (123) and was second in passes defended (19). A keeper!
Ihedigbo has been in Baltimore for the past two years, and he has proven to be a leader. This season he has emerged as the team’s starting strong safety. He started all 16 games, made 101 tackles, and had 11 passes defended and three interceptions. A keeper!
Graham finished last year as a starter and took on the No. 3 role this season. Graham went from a Pro Bowl special teams player to a legitimate starting cornerback during his two season in Baltimore. He is serious about football. He has had 74 tackles and four interceptions. Don’t take the No. #3 role too lightly. He has been one of the team’s top players at his position.
As in the case with many players, the end of the season brings sudden uncertainty. Players get cut due to injury or inability. They become jobless; laid off. Having to search for another team to belong to.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, whether I’m going to be here or going to be somewhere else,” Graham said before stuffing the last of his locker into a trash bag and walking out the door.