Ravens roster

January 05, 2004|By Jamison Hensley

Quarterback

Under contract: Kyle Boller.

Can be retained: None.

Unrestricted free agents: Anthony Wright, Chris Redman.

Outlook: The Ravens did not name a starting quarterback, which would only hurt their chances of bringing back Wright. Although there has been no official decision made, it would be surprising if Boller didn't enter the first minicamp as the starter. With a potentially solid quarterback free-agent market, there is optimism Wright could be retained. That would be a perfect scenario for the Ravens, because both quarterbacks have experience in the system and both are athletic. Redman, a third-round pick in 2000, will not be re-signed.

Running back

Under contract: Jamal Lewis, Chester Taylor, Harold Morrow (FB), Musa Smith, Ovie Mughelli (FB).

Can be retained: Alan Ricard (FB).

Unrestricted free agents: None.

Outlook: No group is in better shape heading into the offseason. Lewis gained 2,066 yards rushing - the second-most prolific season in NFL history - and did so without having to carry 400 times, which should help save on the wear and tear. Ricard is a Pro Bowl alternate, and Taylor is a change-of-pace backup to Lewis. To be in the team's long-term plans, Smith must have more of a presence next season.

Wide receiver

Under contract: Travis Taylor, Frank Sanders, Ron Johnson, Javin Hunter.

Can be retained: Randy Hymes.

Unrestricted free agent: Marcus Robinson.

Outlook: Although no one in this group reached 40 catches, a high-profile signing such as Terrell Owens is not expected. Robinson racked up 22 catches for 375 yards and six touchdowns in the last six games of the regular season, which should earn an invitation back into the starting lineup. Taylor averaged 16.2 yards a catch but finished third in the league with 11 drops. A decision will have to be made on Sanders, who is scheduled to make $2 million next season after a career-worst 14 catches. The addition of Hymes, an up-and-comer who missed the entire season with a knee injury, should help boost this corps.

Tight end

Under contract: Todd Heap, Terry Jones, Trent Smith.

Can be retained: None.

Unrestricted free agent: John Jones.

Outlook: Heap led the team in receiving for the second straight season despite being ignored in certain games. He was held to one catch in four of Wright's seven starts. Known as a blocker, Terry Jones was a pleasant surprise in the passing game with 19 catches and three touchdowns. John Jones is a physical presence on special teams but missed five games due to injury.

Offensive line

Under contract: Jonathan Ogden (T), Edwin Mulitalo (G), Ethan Brooks (T), Tony Pashos (T).

Can be retained: Bennie Anderson (G), Casey Rabach (C-G), Damion Cook (T).

Unrestricted free agents: Mike Flynn (C), Orlando Brown (T).

Outlook: The Ravens are in negotiations to sign Flynn before free agency begins in March. The right tackle position could be one to watch. It'll be interesting to see how hard they go after Brown, the other free agent, whose temper and pass blocking weren't ideal.

Defensive line

Under contract: Kelly Gregg (NT), Tony Weaver (DE), Jarret Johnson (DE), Aubrayo Franklin (DE).

Can be retained: Maake Kemoeatu (NT).

Unrestricted free agents: Marques Douglas (DE), Riddick Parker (DE).

Outlook: Gregg, who finished fourth on the team with 104 tackles, has solidified himself as a starter, and Weaver should be a fixture here for years. Another upgrade could make this an elite run-stopping unit. Douglas did an admirable job as a starter, but he may be better suited as a role player.

Linebackers

Under contract: Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware, Terrell Suggs, Cornell Brown, Bart Scott, T.J. Slaughter.

Can be retained: Ed Hartwell

Unrestricted free agents: Adalius Thomas, Bernardo Harris.

Outlook: Thomas could be tough to re-sign, and Hartwell will command money after next season. The core - Lewis and Boulware - was locked up before the 2002 season. The key is for Suggs to show he is an every-down player, meaning he has to improve as a run stopper.

Secondary

Under contract: Ed Reed (S), Gary Baxter (CB-S), Corey Fuller (CB), Chad Williams (S), Gerome Sapp (S).

Can be retained: Will Demps (S), Ray Walls (CB).

Unrestricted free agents: Chris McAlister (CB), Tom Knight (CB).

Outlook: It would be hard to find three cover men in this league better than McAlister, Reed and Baxter. McAlister, who could be the top free-agent cornerback, has made no secret about his desire to return. Demps has made timely plays, but improving free safety could make this a special tandem. Fuller, who went from a starter to the fifth defensive back, is slated to make $1 million next season.

Special teams

Under contract: Dave Zastudil (P), Lamont Brightful (RS).

Can be retained: Joe Maese (LS).

Unrestricted free agents: Matt Stover (PK), Wade Richey (KOS), Mike Solwold (LS).

Outlook: Re-signing Stover, who turns 36 at the end of this month, should be a priority. He finished second among AFC kickers in points (134), hit 33 of 38 field-goal attempts and converted two game-winners. Brightful has been shaky fielding punts and may force the Ravens to seek a more consistent returner. Richey finished second in the league with 14 touchbacks.

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