Written By: John V.
Here's a big question that buzzing around the league...Everyone knows the big story this off-season with the Ravens; just whom are they going to keep? With rumors circulating about a possible hometown discounts, Baltimore could easily be helping out another team tremendously by not signing one of the premier linebackers they have to offer. Ray Lewis, first ballot hall of famer, is the unconditional leader of the squad. When people think Baltimore, they think great defense, and they think number 52. He’s still a very big contributor in that he makes plays even at his age, but so does Bart Scott. Scott doesn’t bring anywhere near the emotion Lewis does. Ray Lewis is the face of the franchise, and you can’t lose that leadership, even if he is 34. He has probably 3 more productive years left in him and you know he’s going to want big money, so the question arises again, who do you keep. Ray Lewis made it clear earlier today that he doesn’t believe in a hometown discount and I quote. “I don’t play any less, so why should I get paid less?” True, but come on Ray, we know that there’s not much left in the tank. Bart Scott is a very talented linebacker and can hold his own against pretty much anyone. Terrell Suggs is the best pass rusher on the team. He’s going to want a lot of money considering his versatility. I say let go of Scott; a great linebacker that will be a nice fit somewhere. The Ravens could be considered the Penn State of the NFL in that they are Linebacker U. Think about who they’ve lost, and yet haven’t lost. They lost Adalius Thomas a couple years ago, Jarret Johnson filled in nicely, and you wouldn’t even know he was gone. Not to mention there are some more defensive stars on the rise. Although quiet, they are effective. They being Antwan Barnes and Tom Zbikowski. Zbikowski filled in with Jim Leonard in the secondary fill the vacany left by an injured Dawan Landry. While Barnes is entering his third year, he has major potential. His speed around the edge is almost Robert Mathis-like. Even the he isn't as strong as Suggs, he is indeed faster and will be a nightmare in the coming years. We all know Ozzie Newsome is a fantastic GM and knows talent when he sees it, at least on the defensive end (Kyle Boller). The upcoming draft is filled with linebackers, and don’t be surprised if the Ravens use one of their high round picks replacing one of the big three. I'm thinking they should move up and draft Rey Maualuga from Souther California. He resembles a Lofa Tatupu from Seattle. He's very consistant and physically gifted, I can see him as a great fit for the Ravens.
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